Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

How to measure mood in nutrition research

Hammersley, Richard; Reid, Marie; Atkin, Stephen L.


Richard Hammersley

Profile Image

Professor Marie Reid
Professor of Clinical & Health Psychology/ Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Stephen L. Atkin


© 2014 The Authors. Mood is widely assessed in nutrition research, usually with rating scales. A core assumption is that positive mood reinforces ingestion, so it is important to measure mood well. Four relevant theoretical issues are reviewed: (i) the distinction between protracted and transient mood; (ii) the distinction between mood and emotion; (iii) the phenomenology of mood as an unstable tint to consciousness rather than a distinct state of consciousness; (iv) moods can be caused by social and cognitive processes as well as physiological ones. Consequently, mood is difficult to measure and mood rating is easily influenced by non-nutritive aspects of feeding, the psychological, social and physical environment where feeding occurs, and the nature of the rating system employed. Some of the difficulties are illustrated by reviewing experiments looking at the impact of food on mood. The mood-rating systems in common use in nutrition research are then reviewed, the requirements of a better mood-rating system are described, and guidelines are provided for a considered choice of mood-rating system including that assessment should: have two main dimensions; be brief; balance simplicity and comprehensiveness; be easy to use repeatedly. Also mood should be assessed only under conditions where cognitive biases have been considered and controlled.


Hammersley, R., Reid, M., & Atkin, S. L. (2014). How to measure mood in nutrition research. Nutrition research reviews, 27(2), 284-294.

Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 4, 2014
Publication Date 2014-12
Deposit Date May 29, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 29, 2015
Journal Nutrition research reviews
Print ISSN 0954-4224
Electronic ISSN 1475-2700
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 284-294
Keywords Affect; Mood assessment; Mood rating
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Nutrition research reviews, 2014, v.27, issue 2


Article.pdf (194 Kb)

Copyright Statement
©2015 The authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder

You might also like

Downloadable Citations