A framework for the study of public mood

Wendy M. Rahn, Brian Kroeger, Cynthia M. Kite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In this paper we present a theoretical framework for the study of "public mood." We define public mood as a diffuse affective state, having distinct positive and negative components, that people experience because of their membership in a particular political community. Drawing on several different literatures, we present a typology of the etiology of public mood. Public mood has multiple origins, including chronic predisposing factors, personal and collective experiences, and discrete emotional responses to short-term events. Using a local survey, we provide a preliminary investigation of the usefulness of the typology. We then discuss some of the consequences of public mood for evaluations and judgments. We argue that public mood functions as an additional consideration in the formation of attitude responses. In our test of this idea, we find that public mood is quite influential in shaping attitudes, even when controlling for other causes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-58
Number of pages30
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Mood
  • National identity
  • Political alienation
  • Political support
  • Public opinion


Dive into the research topics of 'A framework for the study of public mood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this