Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ) – Child Version Popular

The Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ-short), child version, is an 13 item subscale from a longer 33-item questionnaire (the original MFQ). The questions asked on the survey are based on the DSM-III criteria for depression; however the screening tool and rating scale should not be used as a measure to diagnose.  This instrument should be used an indicator of depressive symptoms and not as a diagnostic tool and therefore does not indicate whether a child or adolescent has a particular disorder.  Diagnoses of mental disorder should only be made by a trained clinician after a thorough evaluation.

The child must rate whether the provided phrase is indicative of their feelings and actions (“Not True”, “Sometimes”, or “True”) over the timeframe of the previous two weeks. 

This instrument has a companion, parent/caregiver-report version, which consists of items assessing the same symptoms. 


Administration Method
Number of Questions
Creator(s) of Tool
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.
Scoring / Benchmarking
Each item is rated on a 3-point Likert scale with values of 0-2 assigned to response statements of “True” (0), “Sometimes” (1), and “Not True” (2) given a timeframe over the previous two weeks. A total score of 12 or higher may signify that a child is suffering from depression.
Background / Quality
The internal reliability coefficient for the survey has been found to be good (Cronbach’s alpha= 0.85), suggesting that this shortened version of the survey adapted from the long version is sufficient. (Angold, Costello, Messer, Pickles, Winder, & Silver, 1995). The parent-version of SMFQ-short was found to be a better predictor of depression than was the child self-report of this measure. However, the combination of both the parent and child versions of the SMFQ-short was a better predictor than was either measure when used alone (Angold et al., 1995).
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