The Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) was developed by Adrian Angold and Elizabeth J. Costello in 1987. The MFQ consists of a series of descriptive phrases regarding how the subject has been feeling or acting recently and is a screening tool for depression in children and young people aged between 6 and 17 years.
Peer-reviewed studies have found the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire to be a reliable and valid measure of depression in children (Wood et al, 1995; Daviss et al, 2006)
The MFQ has been translated into Arabic, Spanish and Norwegian, but testing of these versions is more limited.
There are 6 versions of the MFQ:
- Child Self Report - long version
- Child Self Report - short version
- Parent Report on Child - long version
- Parent Report on Child - short version
- Adult Self-Report - long version
- Adult Self-Report - short version
Respondents are asked whether descriptions in the questionnaire are ‘true’, ‘sometimes true’ or ‘not true’ for them over the past two weeks. Long versions of the questionnaire contain 33 questions and short versions consist of 13 questions.
Scoring and interpretation
The MFQ is scored by summing together the point values of responses for each item. The response choices and their designated point values are as follows:
"not true" = 0 points
"somewhat true" = 1 point
"true" = 2 points
Scores on the short version of the MFQ range from 0 to 26, while scores on the long version range from 0 to 66. Higher scores on the MFQ suggest more severe depressive symptoms. Scoring a 12 or higher on the short version and a 27 or higher on the long version may indicate the presence of depression in the respondent.
There are no prescribed cut-points for any version the MFQ since there is no single cut-point that is best for use in all circumstances. The author provides a list of publications for determining appropriate cut-points in different circumstances, which is recommended reading when setting a cut-point for your use.
The MFQ is free to download as a PDF for administering to clients, or for research purposes. The authors ask that they are cited in any published work.
Please direct questions about the MFQ to Brian Small firstname.lastname@example.org
Angold, A., Costello, E. J., Messer, S. C., Pickles, A., Winder, F., & Silver, D. (1995) The development of a short questionnaire for use in epidemiological studies of depression in children and adolescents. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 5, 237 - 249.
Daviss, WB; Birmaher, B; Melhem, NA; Axelson, DA; Michaels, SM; Brent, DA (September 2006). "Criterion validity of the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire for depressive episodes in clinic and non-clinic subjects.". Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. 47 (9): 927–34.
Messer, S. C., Angold, A., Costello, E.J., Loeber, R., Van Kammen, W., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1995). Development of a short questionnaire for use in epidemiological studies of depression in children and adolescents: Factor composition and structure across development. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 5, 251-262.
Wood, A; Kroll, L; Moore, A; Harrington, R (February 1995). "Properties of the mood and feelings questionnaire in adolescent psychiatric outpatients: a research note.". Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. 36 (2): 327–34.
Please note that the information on this page was last updated in April 2017.