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How Mood Is Assessed In The Medical World?

Have you ever wondered how experts are able to assess your mood status? The answer is far simpler than what you may imagine. Researchers and doctors employ the usage of established questionnaires to assess conditions like anxiety and depression. Below are some of the most used questionnaires used in research and medicine to assess mood:

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)

The PHQ is not only used to assess mood and anxiety, but also as a diagnostic tool for mental health disorders. In addition to being able to assess mood, it is also apt in assessing alcohol, eating, and somatoform disorder modules. Moreover, there are different versions of the questionnaire, with the most well known one being the PHQ-9,which is made up of nine questions.  The PHQ-9 consists of eight questions evaluating symptoms, and one questions assessing functional impairment.  Specifically, the last question assesses for intentions of suicide. Each question is scored from zero to three. A high overall score indicates a higher severity of depression.

Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale

Like the PHQ, this scale focuses on evaluating the symptoms of major depressive disorder as defined by the American Psychiatric Association. The scale consists of twenty questions, each one focusing on a symptom. For instance, questions 2,4, and 6 measure sadness while questions 9 and 17 measure guilt. The response scores for each question range from zero to four, with zero indicating “not at all” or “less than a day” and four indicating “nearly every day for two weeks”. The total score involves finding the sum of the responses. A total score of 16 indicates that there is no clinical significance, while higher scores are indicative of possible depressive symptoms or episodes.

WHO-5 Wellbeing Index

The focus of the WHO-5 is to determine current mental wellbeing. The scale consists of five questions assessing factors like mood, activity, and daily life. Each question may have a score ranging from zero to five. Zero represents “at no time” and five represents “all of the time”. Once an individual is done completing the questionnaire a raw score is collected by calculating the sum. A high score represents a good quality of life, while a low score demonstrates a low quality of life. Additionally, researchers or people in the medical field sometimes calculate a percentage score, which can be obtained by calculating the raw score by a factor of four. The percentage score can be used to evaluate changes in wellbeing.

The Mood and Feelings Questionnaire Scale (MFQ-S)

The MFQ-S is basically comprised of various phrases that are able to describe how a person has been feeling. There are different versions, given that adults can do it for a self report, parents can take it for a report on their child, and children can take it themselves to provide a self report. Specifically, the adult self-report consists of 33 items, which assesses feelings for a recent period of time. Each item can have a score ranging from zero to two, where two signifies “true” and zero signifies “not true”. There is no current cut point for the questionnaire, unlike the ones found in the WHO-5. This gives researchers or doctors the ability to interpret the scores and decide what may be the actions.

Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS)

The DIS is psychiatric interview used to make a diagnosis. The interview schedule is formatted to provide information on depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and other conditions. The interview must be given by a trained individual, but not necessarily someone that is a clinician. The DIS is strongly based on the DSM-IV, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition.

Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)

This scale is based on self-assessment of anxiety and depression. It consists of fourteen items, each with a possible score ranging from zero to three, with three indicating higher symptom frequency. Subscale scores can be derived in terms of either anxiety and depression, and range from zero to twenty-one. Higher subscale scores signify severity. Scores from the total score range from zero to forty-two, with higher scores also signifying more severity. The HADS is more commonly used in hospitals but has also been used in research. The fact that it can take a relatively short amount of time to complete makes it advantageous to use.

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS)

This questionnaire is used to assess depression in adults. The original version contains 17 items, but a 21 item version exists to classify depression if found.  The items assess mood, feelings of guilt, insomnia, suicide, and agitation among other symptoms. Scores on each question may range somewhere between zero and four, depending on the question.  Higher scores indicate more severity, with a score of twenty or higher representative of necessary clinical trial action.

Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)

The MADRS is used to determine the severity of depression. The scoring has to be done by a trained interviewer. The scale consists of ten items, with a higher score indicating more severe symptoms. A score greater than 34 signifies severe depression.

Other articles your may find interesting:

Studies: Why Vitamin D Is Such An Important Piece Of The Mood Puzzle
Studies: Could More Zinc Improve Your Happiness?
Studies: Can Zinc Improve Focus and Brain Health?


Below you can access some of these questionnaires:

PHQ – http://www.integration.samhsa.gov/images/res/PHQ%20-%20Questions.pdf
CES-D – http://www.actonmedical.com/documents/cesd_long.pdf
WHO-5 Wellbeing Index – https://www.psykiatri-regionh.dk/who-5/Documents/WHO5_English.pdf
MFQ-S – https://devepi.duhs.duke.edu/instruments/MFQ%20%20Adult%20Self-Report%20-%20Long.pdf
HADS – http://opencourses.emu.edu.tr/pluginfile.php/8619/mod_resource/content/1/HADS.pdf
HDRS – https://pdbp.ninds.nih.gov/assets/crfs/Hamilton%20Depression%20Rating%20Scale%20(HDRS).pdf
MADRS – http://www.psy-world.com/madrs_print1.htm


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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