The Influence of Mood on Self Report Questionnaires

jbrinker 15 June 2012

Feeling blue? Call for people experiencing depressed mood to partake in research project

Researchers at the Australian National University are examining the reliability of assessment methods commonly used in clinical and research settings. This research specifically focuses on self-report questionnaires. Although these questionnaires are relatively easy to administer there is no research examining how variables, such as mood, might influence reports of the frequency and content of behaviours and mental processes. Negative bias in processing information is an important marker of depressed mood. If mood is influencing responses on questionnaires, this may compromise the ability of a self-report questionnaire to accurately measure its targeted behaviour. In addition, clinical information is often provided by a patient’s friends or family members (i.e. informants). However, previous research has indicated mixed results for the agreement between informants and self-reports. Given that information garnered from these assessment methods is used in research trials, treatment planning, discharge planning and relapse prevention, these factors have important implications. This research project explores the reliability of self and informant reports to identify variables that may influence the agreement between them.

Who can participate?

We are recruiting people in pairs consisting of one person experiencing depressed mood and a person of their choosing, who knows them well (e.g. friend, partner, or family member). Participants must be 18 years and over and speak English fluently.

What does participation involve?

An initial interview (approximately 15 minutes over the phone) will be conducted to determine participant eligibility. This will include a measure of mood. For participants who are eligible to participate, a time will be made for them to complete the study at the Australian National University campus. This should take no more than 1 hour to complete. Participants can come to the university in their pairs, but will complete the study individually. This means that that participants will not see the responses the other person is providing, ensuring confidentiality.

How to get involved?

For more information and to register your interest please email:

All participants will be reimbursed $10 for their time and each pair will go in to the draw to win movie tickets or a dinner voucher for two.

This study has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through the Office of Research Ethics at the Australian National University.

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