Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ)

Assessment Rating:
A – Psychometrics Well-Demonstrated
See entire scale

Adrian Angold and Elizabeth J. Costello

Description / Purpose:

The MFQ is a screener for depression in children and adolescents.

Note: The MFQ was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

The Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) is a 33-item questionnaire based on DSM-III-R criteria for depression. The MFQ consists of a series of descriptive phrases regarding how the subject has been feeling or acting recently. Codings reflect whether the phrase was descriptive of the subject most of the time, sometimes, or not at all in the past two weeks.

Target Population: Children and adolescents ages 8-18

Time to Administer: 5-10 minutes

Completed By: Child, parent

Modalities Available: Hand-written

Scoring Information: Each item is to be rated on a 3-point Likert scale: "true", "sometimes true", and "not true" with respect to the events of the past two weeks.

Languages Available: English

Training Requirements for Intended Users: None stated

Availability: Free to download on Duke University website:

Contact Information

Company: Duke University
Name: Brian Small
Phone: (919) 687-4686

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This tool has received the Measurement Tools Rating of "A – Psychometrics Well-Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The tool must have 2 or more published, peer-reviewed studies that have established the measure’s psychometrics (e.g., reliability and validity, sensitivity and specificity, etc.). Please see the Measurement Tools Rating Scale for more information.

Show relevant research...

Wood, A., Kroll, L., Moore, A., & Harrington, R. (1995). Properties of the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in adolescent psychiatric outpatients: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36(2), 327-334.


Participants — 104 adolescent outpatients

Race/Ethnicity — Not given


The study examined the psychometric properties of the Mood and Feelings
Questionnaire (MFQ)
in 104 adolescent outpatients attending a psychiatric clinic for treatment of depressive disorders. Both the child and parent versions of the MFQ had high internal consistency. Children reported more symptoms than their parents did about them. Analyses showed that the MFQ-Child had moderate diagnostic accuracy for major depression at interview, whereas the MFQ-Parent had only low accuracy. It was also a useful measure of clinical remission.

Kent, L., Vostanis, P., & Feehan, C. (1997). Detection of major and minor depression in children and adolescents: Evaluation of the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(5), 565-573.


Participants — 113 outpatient children

Race/Ethnicity — Not given for total sample. Study gives weighted percentages dispersed in seven individual group clusters.


The detection of major and minor depression in children and adolescents was evaluated in an outpatient sample of 113 children employing the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (both child and parent versions) and the Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS). Differences between depressed and nondepressed groups, those with major or minor depression, and depressed children compared with those comorbid for anxiety, were examined. Findings support the validity of the MFQ as a screening instrument for major and minor depression in a population with a high proportion of depressed cases. High agreement between parent and child ratings was found, with cognitive items being the best predictors of depression.

Daviss, W. B., Birmaher, B., Melhem, N. A., Axelson, D. A., Michaels, S. M., & Brent, D. A. (2006). Criterion validity of the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire for depressive episodes in clinic and non-clinic subjects. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(9), 927-934.


Participants — 470 youth

Race/Ethnicity — White (n=390) and Nonwhite (n=80)


Among 470 consecutive youth completing semi-structured interviews at a university-based child psychiatry center, total scores from the 33-item MFQ-Child and 34-item MFQ-Parent were examined across subjects with and without mood disorders various analyses. Statistically significant differences were found in mean scores of the MFQ-C and MFQ-P across youth having major depressive episodes (MDE), mood disorders not meeting criteria for current MDE, and no mood disorders. In the overall sample, areas under the curve for discriminating MDE and any mood disorder suggested moderate to high criterion validity. Scores from the MFQ-C and MFQ-P in the overall sample correlated strongly with each other. The MFQ-C and MFQ-P, especially used in combination, validly identify MDE or other mood disorders in youth diverse in demographic and clinical characteristics.

Sund, A. M., Larsson, B., & Wichstrøm, L. (2001). Depressive symptoms among young Norwegian adolescents as measured by the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ). European child & adolescent psychiatry, 10(4), 222-229.


Participants — 2560 13- to 14-year-old Norwegian girls and boys

Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified


This study examined the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) in a sample of Norwegian adolescents. The MFQ showed a good internal consistency (α), and test-retest correlations (r) for three-week and three-month intervals were 0.84 and 0.80 respectively. Convergent and discriminative validity were also assessed. The mean total MFQ score for the whole sample was 10.6 (SD 9.5). The results showed a significant sex by age interaction effect in that girls increased their mean total MFQ sum score by age while the boys' scores decreased slightly.

Hammerton, G., Zammit, S., Potter, R., Thapar, A., & Collishaw, S. (2014). Validation of a composite of suicide items from the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) in offspring of recurrently depressed parents. Psychiatry research, 216(1), 82-88.


Participants — 337 (315 mothers and 22 fathers)

Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified


The main aim of this study was to examine the concurrent and predictive validity of a composite of four Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) items related to suicidal ideation using an interview measure of suicidal ideation. A parent–child combined MFQ-SI subscale performed well as a screening tool against the interview measure of suicidal ideation (baseline area under the curve (AUC) (95%CI):0.92(0.85–1.00). Longitudinally, this measure showed reasonable predictive validity against future suicidal ideation (AUC (95%CI):0.73(0.58–0.88)). Lastly, there was evidence that a child-rated MFQ-SI scale performed better than a parent-rated one in detecting concurrent suicidal ideation. Longitudinally, both parent and child scales showed reasonable predictive validity against future suicidal ideation.

Date Reviewed: February 2015 (Originally reviewed in August 2011)