The Circular Mood Scale: A new technique of measuring ambulatory mood

  • Rolf G. Jacob
  • Anne D. Simons
  • Stephen B. Manuck
  • Jeffrey M. Rohay
  • Shari Waldstein
  • Constantine Gatsonis


This article presents a new method of assessing and quantifying qualitatively different mood states, the Circular Mood Scale. The method is suitable for self-monitoring of mood. It involves two parallel assessments, each based on one of two models of mood: the circumplex model and the prototypical model. In the main assessment, subjects record their mood states on a circular visual analogue scale, which can be scored for both quality and intensity of mood. The recordings on this circular scale are supplemented by an additional assessment in which subjects monitor a limited number of mood prototypes. We tested the Circular Mood Scale on four classes of mood stimuli: verbal mood descriptors, music, pictures of facial affects, and the subjects' own mood during hourly monitoring of mood for 2 days. We determined the stability and interrater reliability of the mood ratings, as well as construct and concurrent validity. The results indicated that the Circular Mood Scale has acceptable reliability and validity. Possible applications and limitations of the instrument are discussed.

Key words

mood assessment reliability validity circumplex model 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abe, K., & Suzuki, T. (1985). Age trends of early awakening and feeling worse in the morning than in the evening in apparently normal people.Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 173, 495–498.Google Scholar
  2. Aitken, R. C. B. (1969). Measurement of feelings using visual analogue scales.Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 62, 989–998.Google Scholar
  3. Batschelet, E. (1981).Circular statistics in biology. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression.Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561–571.Google Scholar
  5. Cameron, O. G., Lee, M. A., Kotun, J., & McPhee, K. M. (1986). Circadian symptom fluctuations in people with anxiety disorders.Journal of Affective Disorders, 11, 213–218.Google Scholar
  6. Daly, E. M., Lancee, W. J., & Polivy, J. (1983). A conical model for the taxonomy of emotional experience.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 443–457.Google Scholar
  7. Eifert, G. H., Craill, L., Carey, E., & O'Connor, C. (1988). Affect modification through evaluative conditioning with music.Behaviour Research and Therapy, 26, 321–330.Google Scholar
  8. Ekman, P. (1976).Pictures of facial affect. Palo Alto, CA: Counsulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  9. Ekman, P., Levenson, R. W., & Friesen, W. V. (1983). Autonomic nervous system activity distinguishes among emotions.Science, 221, 1208–1210.Google Scholar
  10. Faravelli, C., La Malfa, G., & Romano, S. (1985). Circadian rhythm in primary affective disorder.Comprehensive Psychiatry, 26, 364–369.Google Scholar
  11. Grunhaus, L., Flegel, P., Carroll, B. J., & Greden, J. F. (1985). Self-reported diurnal mood changes, early morning awaking and the dexamethasone suppression test in endogenous depression.Journal of Affective Disorders, 8, 1–7.Google Scholar
  12. Harburg, E., Blakelock, E. H., & Roeper, P. J. (1979). Resentful and reflective coping with arbitrary authority and blood pressure: Detroit.Psychosomatic Medicine, 41, 189–202.Google Scholar
  13. James, G. D., Yee, L. S., Harshfield, G. A., Blank, S. G., & Pickering, T. G. (1982). The influence of happiness, anger, and anxiety on the blood pressure of borderline hypertensives.Psychosomatic Medicine, 49, 502–508.Google Scholar
  14. Kammann, R., & Flett, R. (1983). Affectometer 2: A scale to measure current level of general happiness.Australian Journal of Psychology, 35, 259–265.Google Scholar
  15. Larson, R. W. (1987). On the independence of positive and negative affect within hour-to-hour experience.Motivation and Emotion, 11, 145–155.Google Scholar
  16. Lee, C. (1987). Affective behavior modification: a case for empirical investigation.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 18, 203–213.Google Scholar
  17. Mackay, C. J. (1980). The measurement of mood and psychophysiological activity using self-reporting techniques. In I. Martin & P. H. Venables (Eds.),Techniques in psychophysiology. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Mardia, K. V. (1972).Statistics of directional data. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Marler, M. R., Jacob, R. G., Lehoczky, J. P., & Shapiro, A. P. (1988). The statistical analysis of treatment effects in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.Statistics in Medicine, 7, 697–716.Google Scholar
  20. Mayer, J. D., & Gaschke, Y. N. (1988). The experience and meta-experience of mood.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 102–111.Google Scholar
  21. Miller, R. G. (1981).Simultaneous statistical inference. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  22. McNair, D. M., & Lorr, M. (1982).Profile of mood states-Bipolar form. San Diego, CA: Educational Industrial Testing Service.Google Scholar
  23. Moller, H. J., & Leitner, M. (1987). Optimizing a nonlinear mathematical approach for the computerized analysis of mood curves.Psychopathology, 20, 255–267.Google Scholar
  24. Pennebaker, J. W. (1982).The psychology of physical symptoms. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  25. Pignatiello, M. F., Camp, C. J., & Rasar, L. A. (1986). Musical mood induction: An alternative to the Velten technique.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 295–297.Google Scholar
  26. Richter, P., & Benzhofer, U. (1985). Time estimation and chronopathology in endogenous depression.Acta Psychiatria Scandanavia, 72, 246–253.Google Scholar
  27. Rohlf, F. J., & Sokal, R. R. (1969).Statistical tables. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  28. Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 1161–1178.Google Scholar
  29. Scheffe, H. A. (1959).The analysis of variance. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Shaver, P., Schwartz, J., Kirson, D., & O'Conner, C. (1987). Emotional knowledge: Further exploration of a protype approach.Journal of Personality and Social Psyschology, 52, 1061–1086.Google Scholar
  31. Singer, M. T. (1974). Engagement-involvement: A central phenomenon in psychophysiological research.Psychosomatic Medicine, 36, 1–17.Google Scholar
  32. Southard, D. R., Coates, T. J., Kolodner, K., Parker, F. C., Padgett, N. E., & Kennedy, H. L. (1986). Relationship between mood and blood pressure in the natural environment: An adolescent population.Health Psychology, 5, 469–480.Google Scholar
  33. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene, R. E. (1970).The State-Trait Anxiety inventory: A test manual for form X. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  34. Spielberger, C. D., Westberry, L., Barker, L., Russel, S., Silva de Crane, R., & Ozer, A. K. (1980).Preliminary manual for the State-Trait Anger Scale (STAS). Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Center for Research in Psychology.Google Scholar
  35. Spielberger, C. D., Jacobs, G., Crane, R., Russel, S., Westberry, L., Barker, L., Johnson, E., Knight, J., & Marks, E. (1988).Preliminary manual for the State-Trait Personality Inventory. Presented at the Ninth Annual Scientific Session, Boston.Google Scholar
  36. Tolle, R., & Goetze, U. (1987). On the daily rhythm of depression symptomatology.Psychopathology, 20, 237–249.Google Scholar
  37. von Zerssen, D., Barthelemes, H., Dirlich, G., Doerr, P., Emrich, H. M., von Lindern, L., Lund, R., & Pirke, P. M. (1985). Circadian rhythms in endogenous depression.Psychiatric Research, 16, 51–63.Google Scholar
  38. Watson, D., & Tellegen, A. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood.Psychological Bulletin, 98, 219–235.Google Scholar
  39. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.Google Scholar
  40. Wilson, G. T. (1982). Psychotherapy process and procedure: the behavioral mandate.Behavior Therapy, 13, 291–231.Google Scholar
  41. Winer, B. J. (1971).Statistical principles in experimental design (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  42. Zevon, M. A., & Tellegen, A. (1982). The structure of mood change: An idiographic/nomothetic analysis.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 111–112.Google Scholar
  43. Zuckerman, M., & Lubin, B. (1965).Manual for the multiple affect adjective checklist. San Diego, CA: Industrial Testing Service.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf G. Jacob
    • 1
  • Anne D. Simons
    • 1
  • Stephen B. Manuck
    • 2
  • Jeffrey M. Rohay
    • 1
  • Shari Waldstein
    • 2
  • Constantine Gatsonis
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburgh

Personalised recommendations