Measuring the Mood of Seventh-Grade Students with the MAACL-R6

Article excerpt

During the past decade, there has been growing concern over the reading level of patient educational materials, research consent forms, and self-report instruments used to collect data. Considering that as much as 10% of the U.S. population is illiterate (Jubelirer, Linton, & Magnetti, 1994), this concern is warranted. Some educational materials routinely used to provide childhood immunization information have been found to exceed the reading ability of most parents (Melman, Kaplan, Caloustian, Weinberger, Smith, & Anbar, 1994). In many cases, there is a serious mismatch between the reading level of clinic users and the instructional materials and consent forms that are provided to them (Larson & Schumacher, 1992; Davis, Crouch, Wills, Miller, & Abdehou, 1990; LoVerde, Prochazka, & Byyny, 1989). In the case of psychological assessment, self-report inventories that cannot be read or comprehended are, of course, useless.

In addition to lowering the reading level of assessment instruments (Barad & Hughes, 1984; Cella, 1984; Franco, 1986; Godfrey & Knight, 1986; Harrington & Follett, 1984; McGiboney & Carter, 1985), there has been concurrent interest in reducing their overall length. Thus, short forms of instruments in the following areas have been developed: intelligence (Applegate & Kaufman, 1989; Pieters & Sieberhagen, 1986; Silverstein, 1990; Watkins, Edinger, & Shipley, 1989), personality (Kincannon, 1968; McGiboney & Carter, 1985; Nelson, Turner, & McCreary, 1991; Vondell & Cyr, 1990; Francis & Pearson, 1988; Grayson, 1986), depression (Alden, Austin, & Sturgeon, 1989; Friedrich, Reams, & Jacobs, 1988; Meneese & Yutrzenka, 1990; Westaway & Wolmarans, 1992), alcoholism (Rather, 1990; Willenbring, Christensen, Rasmussen, & Spring, 1987), clinical neuropsychology (Horton, Anilane, Puente, & Berg, 1988; Sherrill, 1987; Thompson & Heaton, 1989), and health status and attitudes (Katz, Larson, Phillips, & Fossel, 1992; Yarnold, Bryant, & Grimm, 1987).

Considering the importance of emotion to research on personality and health, the development of brief mood measures that have appropriate reading levels should have high priority. Comprehension is especially important for instruments that have an adjective checklist format, where nonresponses due to inability to understand an item might be construed as inapplicability of that item.

It has been determined that the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List-Revised (MAACL-R; Zuckerman & Lubin, 1985) has an eighth-grade reading level (Lubin, Collins, Seever, & Whitlock, 1991). In order to make the MAACL-R suitable for use with children, young adolescents, and adults with low reading levels, a scoring key was recently developed that retained only those adjectives designated as at or below the sixth-grade reading level by Dale and O'Rourke's (1981) comprehension procedure. This key has been validated using the rescored MAACL-R results of referred and nonreferred adults (Lubin, Whitlock, & Rea, 1995). The purpose of the present study was to extend previous findings (Lubin, Whitlock, & Rea, 1995) by determining the psychometric characteristics of the state and trait forms of the 62-item MAACL-R6 when administered to seventh-grade students.

METHOD

Subjects

Subjects were drawn from two semirural Missouri public school systems. Of the 265 seventh-grade students who participated in the first administration of the MAACL-R6, 147 (55%) were female and 118 (45%) were male. More than 99% were white. Thirty students were absent at the second administration.

Instruments

The MAACL-R6 consists of the 62 affect-connoting adjectives of the MAACL-R that are at or below the sixth-grade reading level as determined by the Dale-O'Rourke (1981) comprehension test. The MAACL-R6 retains the five analytically derived MAACL-R scales: Anxiety (A), Depression (D), Hostility (H), Positive Affect (PA), and Sensation Seeking (SS). …