Mood describes emotional state in a broad sense but is not in itself an emotion. In contrast to feelings, like joy or fear, moods are generally less intense but longer lasting, and are less likely to triggered by a single event. Mood is also less specific and is usually described in general terms like ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘down’ or ‘up’. You can think of particular feelings as being in the forefront, right out there and catching our attention from moment-to-moment, while mood is background, something we tend not to notice but which impacts multiple aspects of our health and cognitive functioning, influencing how we perceive, process, evaluate, and respond to information.
Sometimes it seems as if though moods have a life of their own, coming and going for no apparent reason, and often that’s the case. But, when moods are extreme or tend to fluctuate rapidly, or when low mood persists over time, they are telling us that something is wrong and must be attended to.
When we think of problems of mood, the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is Depression, and rightly so – because it is so common and costly. Indeed, even before the still uncounted effects of the pandemic, approximately 7% of adults could be expected to experience at least one episode of Major Depression in any 12-month period. And, in the United States, the economic burden of Major Depressive Disorder was estimated to be at over $210 billion per year. Almost half of which was attributed to absenteeism and reduced productivity while at work rather than to treatment. Early identification and, by implication, prevention and early treatment of Depression and other Mood Disorders are high on the list of what Budee’s Mood Questionnaire is designed to do, but that’s not all. Anomalies of mood are also a symptom of other mental health conditions, of substance abuse, of sleep disorders, and of medical conditions such hypothyroid or low blood sugar. Sometimes, it’s largely situational, related to events or conditions in one’s life. Whether it is an urgent intervention or just some support and practical guidance that’s needed, Budee is designed to screen for and evaluate problematic mood states, to alert employers, and to guide the user to appropriate resources.
Although there are many measures of mood out there, Budee’s unique application required something equally unique; an engaging and user-friendly questionnaire that requires less than a minute a day to complete and provides both the user and the employer with practical, relevant, and easy to understand feedback and direction -customized to the latter’s risk matrix. To this end, a review of the relevant literature has identified three factors of particular relevance to the workplace, and numerous examples of the sort of test items that identify them. Budee’s Mood Questionnaire is comprised of 25 items (5 per day over a 5-day cycle) and provides an overall Negative Affect score, as well as sub scores for Depression, Anxiety, and Hostility, all of which are tracked over time to identify problematic mood states that are extreme, persistent, or rapidly fluctuating. Individual questions have high face validity and, as data comes in, will become more refined with respect to the particulars of discriminative and predictive validity as well as other data features.
The Budee Mood Questionnaire also functions as a screening measure, identifying users who require clinical levels of assessment and directing them to the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS), developed at the University of New South Wales. The DASS is a 42-item questionnaire which assesses respondents’ current and recent and emotional state to identify the core features of Depression, Anxiety and Hostility. It is suitable for use by populations of youth and adults, has established statistical features, and is appropriate for both clinical use and research. Feedback is provided to both user and employer, along with actionable recommendations based on the company’s customized risk matrix.