Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ) - Parent Version

The Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ-short) for parents/caregivers is a 13 item subscale from a longer 34-item questionnaire (the original MFQ).  Each item asks parents to rate whether the provided phrase is indicative of their child’s feelings and actions (“Not True”, “Sometimes”, or “True”) over the timeframe of the previous two weeks.  The questions asked on the survey are based on the DSM-III criteria for depression.  However, scores on this measure should be interpreted with caution.  A particular score on this measure should not be taken to mean that the respondent has a particular disorder, as this measure is only one component of a diagnostic evaluation. Similarly, this measure does not yield a definitive diagnosis, but rather suggests types of mental health disorders that may be the cause of the respondent’s emotional or behavioral difficulties.  A diagnosis can only be reached after a thorough evaluation by a trained clinician.

This instrument has a companion, child-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 parent version of the survey has been found to be good (Cronbach’s alpha= 0.87), suggesting 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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