Validity and Reliability of the Experience-Sampling Method
To understand the dynamics of mental health, it is essential to develop measures for the frequency and the patterning of mental processes in every-day-life situations. The Experience-Sampling Method (ESM) is an attempt to provide a valid instrument to describe variations in self-reports of mental processes. It can be used to obtain empirical data on the following types of variables: (a) frequency and patterning of daily activity, social interaction, and changes in location; (b) frequency, intensity, and patterning of psychological states, i.e., emotional, cognitive, and conative dimensions of experience; (c) frequency and patterning of thoughts, including quality and intensity of thought disturbance. The article reviews practical and methodological issues of the ESM and presents evidence for its short-and long-term reliability when used as an instrument for assessing the variables outlined above.