According to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, a new and compact smartphone questionnaire could be effective for long-term daily monitoring of mood instability in clinical psychiatric practice.

The Mood Zoom questionnaire asks users to rate anxiety, elation, sadness, anger, irritability and energy on a 7-point Likert scale. 

Athanasios Tsanas, MSc, DPhil, from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues compared the questionnaire to four standard clinical questionnaires that assess mania (ASRM), depression (QIDS), anxiety (GAD-7), and quality of life (EQ-5D).

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The study included 48 participants with bipolar disorder, 31 participants with borderline personality disorder, and 51 healthy controls. The standard clinical questionnaires were administered weekly and the Mood Zoom questionnaire was administered daily.

The Mood Zoom questionnaire correlated well with the QIDS, GAD-7 and EQ-5D questionnaires. In addition, the researchers found statistically strong differences in variability in all questionnaires in all 3 cohorts.

Participants with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder exhibited different trends and variability compared with the healthy controls. These patients tended to have higher self-reported scores in mania, depression and anxiety, and reported lower quality of life.

The researchers also noted that an analysis of Mood Zoom variability could differentiate borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder, which was not possible using the weekly questionnaires.

According to the authors, the use of a smartphone to collect mood data increases adherence to the program because the smartphone can prompt participants to complete the questionnaire. In addition, the use of a smartphone can create potential to record additional objective data that could be useful for mood monitoring.

“People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder show higher ratings of distress compared to bipolar disorder or healthy controls,” the study authors wrote. “The increased amplitude of ratings of negative mood and anxiety were accompanied by greater day-to-day variability in the borderline personality disorder group. Such measures of mood instability may prove useful in measuring outcome in both bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder patients and as a target for measuring the efficacy of drug or psychological treatment.”


Tsanas A, Saunders KEA, Bilderbeck AC, et al. Daily longitudinal self-monitoring of mood variability in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. J Affect Disorders. 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.065.

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This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor