The Background, Psychometric Qualities and Clinical Application of the Visual Analog Mood Scales: A Review and Evaluation

James Athanasou


The purpose of this report is to evaluate the published version of the Visual Analog Mood Scales. These scales were published in 1997 and assess eight clinically relevant unipolar dimensions: afraid, confused, sad, angry, energetic, tired, happy, tense. From a search of the literature in PsycINFO, 24 empirical studies (including reliability and validity) were located on the application of the scales. The use of the scales for diagnosis, treatment and experimentation is described and published data on the test-retest reliability and validity of the scales is summarized. The reported test-retest correlations ranged from .43 to .87 and were considered too low for high stakes decisions. From nine studies, the concurrent validity coefficients across the eight scales ranged from a low of .12 to as high as .82. It is concluded that the scales have clinical utility for a quasi-non-verbal or pictorial assessment of mood states but there are limitations in the interpretation of the results. This is due to the shortcomings in the standardization samples as well as concerns for the psychometric quality in terms of validity and reliability.


mood; visual analogue; assessment; Visual Analog Mood Scales

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ISSN: 2193-7281
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