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The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion

The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion
Ekkekakis, P. (2013). The measurement of affect, mood, and emotion: A guide for health-behavioral research. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107648203



Advance Praise for The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion


"a powerful plea for a qualitative shift in the way research is conducted. It is a wise, thoughtful, and much needed guidebook for the transition from a prescientific to a scientific paradigm. If researchers read this book, they will be convinced, they will change their behavior, and their research will advance.I'm often asked to recommend a measure for emotion or mood, and I never have a simple answer. Now I do: Read Ekkekakis."
--Professor James A. Russell, Boston College

"What an impressive piece of writing! Authoritative, thought-provoking, essential reading for all those interested in physical activity and mental health. Dr Ekkekakis always provides insightful commentaries and critiques, and this is no exception. It will certainly move this research field forward."
--Stuart Biddle, Professor of Physical Activity & Health, Loughborough University

"Much has been written about the acute effects of exercise on affect, mood and emotion, led by Paddy Ekkekakis over the past 10 years. This has changed the precision of measurement and understanding across the field. This book brings together this literature like no other book, and extends the relevance for anyone working in the field of health behaviour research."
--Professor Adrian Taylor, Chair in Exercise and Health Psychology, University of Exeter

"This definitive book on measurement of affect, mood, and emotion is necessary reading for all scientists seeking to employ self-report assessments of these central concepts."
--Robert E. Thayer, Professor of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, and author of The Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal, The Origin of Everyday Moods, and Calm Energy

"In a clear and engaging style, this book brings the distinctions between and measurement of the constructs in this content area together in one place in a way that is quite original and very much needed."
--Toni Yancey, Professor, Health Services, and Co-Director, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


Reviews of The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion


Ekkekakis takes us on tour of his dissection of research within the field of affect, mood, and emotion through this short, yet precise text. Akin to the bag of Mary Poppins, this book offers a simple premise; that of exploring the limitations and pitfalls of oft-cited measurement tools, yet inside we are confronted by a wealth of information, formulated into an engaging and easy-to-follow text.

From the outset we are engaged by various debates within the field and asked to acknowledge the growing problem of widely generalised findings, stemming from poorly defined and operationalised concepts. We are urged, through copious examples and comparisons, to learn from past mistakes and strive to strengthen future findings, leaving the reader to question and scrutinise their own methods and work. Ekkekakis provides help on this matter through suggestion of a three-tier decision model requiring sound, literature-driven reasoning when selecting our measuring devices, and firmly explores the benefits of doing so.

Throughout the latter half of this text, the reader may find themselves hoping that measures they have previously used are not mentioned and fairly critiqued as the writer successfully attempts to draw us away from replicating methods simply because they have been used at great lengths in the past, towards utilisation of measurements which better suit our work and support the outcomes in which we envisage.

An enthralling read from the outset, which has application far past mood, affect and emotion, and a step in the right direction to shaping better research.

Reviewed by Dean Fido, PhD student, Nottingham Trent University


Researchers have been examining the relationship between affective constructs and behavior for years. The contributions of health behaviors, such as tobacco use, alcohol use, diet, exercise, skin cancer prevention, and oral care, just to name a few, to overall health are critical. Therefore, understanding health behaviors—that is, why people engage or do not engage in them and their impact on the mind and body—has become a growing focus of interest, as evidenced by the rapidly expanding literature devoted to this mission.

A renewed interest in the roles of affect, mood, and emotions as both predictors and outcomes of health behaviors, however, has not been buttressed by sufficient expertise among today’s researchers in the conceptual bases or measurement strategies optimal for assessing the role of these affective constructs vis-à-vis behavior. Through The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion: A Guide for Health-Behavioral Research, Panteleimon Ekkekakis aims to provide a “rudimentary guide to the measurement of affect, mood, and emotion for researchers working in the field of health behavior” (p. 4).

The author artfully takes readers through the often-muddy waters of understanding affect, mood, and emotion; the differences among them; their theoretical underpinnings; and considerations in measuring them while emphasizing why this matters for the study of health behaviors. This generally concise text synthesizes key developments in this field, particularly in reference to commonly used measures. It also provides practical approaches to those who study health behavior in relation to affective constructs.

The text is organized into several chapters with the general aims of (a) providing an overview of the problem; (b) defining affect, emotion, and mood; (c) reviewing conceptualizations of affect as distinct entities versus dimensions, and affective states as independent or polar opposites; (d) providing strategies for selecting a measure; and (e) discussing common measures of distinct states, dimensional measures, and domain-specific measures.

The book begins with an overview of problematic approaches to measurement of affect, mood, and emotion. Examples from the literature are used to illustrate the author’s point “that the measurement of affective constructs, including core affect, mood, and emotion, within the domain of research investigating health behaviors would benefit from a thorough and critical reconsideration of concepts and practices” (p. 52). Although this overview clearly communicates the problems in this field, as readers we were anxious long before its end to get on to the solutions. Hence, a reader who is fully convinced early on that the problem is critical might want to move quickly to the remainder of the book in order to find out how best to address the problem or avoid it in his or her own work.

A discussion of the definitions of affect, mood, and emotion is contained in the second chapter, including a very informative table comparing these three constructs (although this table would have been more helpful if it had been placed earlier in the text so that readers unfamiliar with these distinctions would have a better understanding of how problematic prior approaches may have been). The discussion about theories behind these constructs, as well as how well the resultant measures align themselves with those theories, is thought provoking. Adding to the complexity of the situation is the fact that affect, mood, and emotion have been treated as independent variables, dependent variables, or as mediators and moderators of behavior, although perhaps not so clearly defined as such in the literature. Further, these three terms have been used inconsistently in the literature, thus adding to the confusion. [...] Along with pointing out the confusion that can ensue when vague definitions and approaches to measurement are used, the focus particularly in Chapter 2, and throughout the text, is on why it matters to be discerning and how this can lead to a better answer to one’s research question and thus better science.

In subsequent chapters, Ekkekakis moves on to discuss whether affect is best conceptualized as a categorical type of concept (i.e., present vs. absent) or as a dimensional construct, and then he reviews arguments about whether pleasant and unpleasant states should be considered independent or polar opposites. For example, does a score of zero on a scale of negative affect indicate no negative affect or distress, or instead does it indicate the presence of positive affect? This latter issue is thought provoking and a necessary problem to ponder for anyone considering how to incorporate these constructs into his or her own work and interpret the work of others.

The book also has a very practical focus, as demonstrated in Chapter 5. Choosing a measure is a complex and challenging process, but Ekkekakis emphasizes throughout the book that more often than not measures appear to have been selected primarily because they have been used previously within the research literature of interest. A key point is that prior use alone is insufficient justification and is a particularly inadequate reason in most cases because the proposed research may not exactly map onto previous work. Chapter 5 describes a three-step process that is designed to serve as a guide in selecting a measure on the basis of carefully considering which construct is of interest (i.e., affect, mood, or emotion), selecting the appropriate theoretical model on which to conceptualize the construct of interest, and finally choosing a suitable psychometrically sound measurement. A real strength is the description of how to justify the measure that one selects, complete with several examples of how to convey this justification in written work. Further, some guidance is given for when a researcher who has reviewed the literature of existing measures and found nothing sufficient needs to develop a new measure based on theoretical approaches.

Finally, the last several chapters of the book contain another key strength: the focused critique of popular measures used in the health behavior literature, including the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List, the Profile of Mood States, and the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory. For each measure, a short overview is provided that covers its development, original purposes, modifications if any, and typical uses in the current literature. Ways in which the measure has been used that do not support its original intent, and hence are problematic from the author’s perspective, are highlighted.


This text succeeds in conveying Ekkekakis’s central goal, which is to enable researchers to take a thoughtful and critical approach to what it is they want to measure and how best to accomplish this. The engaging style of writing makes this potentially cumbersome and diffuse topic much more interesting and understandable. Although billed as a guidebook for junior investigators, it would be useful to anyone who would like to quickly gain a critical overview of these issues and take a more thoughtful approach to his or her own work in the study of mood, affect, and emotion as they relate to health behaviors.

Posluszny, D.M., & Dew, M.A. (2014). Better measurement of affect, mood, and emotion in health research: A review of "The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion: A Guide for Health-Behavioral Research" by Panteleimon Ekkekakis. PsycCritiques, 59 (5).



Review of The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion
Source: Sydiaha, D. (2013). Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, 51 (4), 730-731.