Introduction

Lots of psychological questionnaires and scales have many questions, but some have one or just a few.

Visual Analogy Mood scales are commonly used and have a long history, although their data are not always well reported. One of the clearest recent reports is a study by Machado, Thompson, and Brett (2019), but there are many others (just randomly, see Killgore (1999) or Rijsbergen et al. (2012).

The VAMS (Rijsbergen et al., 2012) is one of them published in an open access journal, but it does not report averages like the Machado study.

Some people like one item mood scales, for example from Sad to Happy as in Rijsbergen et al, whereas others can have multiple types of moods. There are advantages in visual analogue scales, as described, for example, by Killgore.

A single-item visual analogue mood scale can be administered in only a few seconds, reducing the problematic effects of fatigue and reactance which may occur with longer questionnaires.

— Killgore (1999)

The organization of scales varies. For example, Machado VAMS campures mood on a 6 different 100 point scales and the Rijsbergen VAMS on a single Happy-Sad 0-10 scale.

Labels differ between studies. For example Machado et al. use opposites, such as ranging from extremely unhappy to extremelly happy, whereas Rijsbergen et al. (2012) used sad to happy. That is important, because Machado et all use two different scales for happyness and sadness (try the demonstration below). In total, Machado offers six different scales (Happy, Sad, Calm, Tense, Energetic, and Sleepy).

Below are data from Table 1 (p.419) from the Machado et al. (2019) study. Note that these are data from men only, so it is unknown if this differs for women. If you want more details, such as SDs, you need to download the study yourself (link in references)

Table 1. Data from the Machado et al. (2019), study. Scores are on a 0-100 point scale.
subscale Young men (18-23) older men (64-70)

Happy

58.12

76.44

Sad

26.09

11.87

Calm

63.09

78.55

Tense

32.84

17.90

Energetic

41.22

68.33

Sleepy

49.12

17.62

Run the demo

In this implementation, the word "scale" is used, whereas in the original computer presented stud, the word "line" was used.

It seems that the VAMS can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Machado et al., 2019).

Technically

This is a range question.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
l: mood_happy
t: range
q: Click the position on the scale that best represents how you feel right now.
- {left=Not at all happy,right=Extremely happy,start=50,min=0,max=100,no_number}

l: mood_sad
t: range
q: Click the position on the scale that best represents how you feel right now.
- {left=Not at all sad,right=Extremely sad,start=50,min=0,max=100,no_number}

l: mood_calm
t: range
q: Click the position on the scale that best represents how you feel right now.
- {left=Not at all calm,right=Extremely calm,start=50,min=0,max=100,no_number}

l: mood_tense
t: range
q: Click the position on the scale that best represents how you feel right now.
- {left=Not at all tense,right=Extremely tense,start=50,min=0,max=100,no_number}

l: mood_energetic
t: range
q: Click the position on the scale that best represents how you feel right now.
- {left=Not at all energetic,right=Extremely energetic,start=50,min=0,max=100,no_number}

l: mood_sleepy
t: range
q: Click the position on the scale that best represents how you feel right now.
- {left=Not at all sleepy,right=Extremely sleepy,start=50,min=0,max=100,no_number}

References

  • Killgore, W.D.S. (1999). The visual analogue mood scale: Can a single-item scale accurately classify depressive mood state?

  • Machado, L., Thompson, L.M., and Brett, C.H.R. (2019). Visual analogue mood scale scores in healthy young versus older adults. International Psychogeriatrics, 31(3),417-424. Link to publisher

  • van Rijsbergen, G.D., Bockting, C.L., Berking, M., Koeter, M.W.J., & Schene, A.H. (2012). Can a One-Item Mood Scale Do the Trick? Predicting Relapse over 5.5-Years in Recurrent Depression. _Plos One, 7(10), e46796. Open Access Link to article.