Development and Validation of Mood Scales Suitable for use with Stroke Patients with Aphasia

It is estimated that around a third of stroke patients have aphasia, where a person's ability to communicate using spoken or written language is impaired by brain injury. Severe aphasia can make communication of any kind extremely difficult.

Stroke patients are at particularly high risk of becoming depressed, yet there are few instruments to assess mood in people with severe communication difficulties. There is therefore a need to develop screening measures to assess mood in people whose ability to communicate is severely impaired or absent. The objective of this study was to produce a brief, nonverbal mood measure to enable people with language impairments to quickly and accurately report a profile of their mood, and to identify the risk of depression or other mood problems.

The Dynamic Visual Analogue Mood Scales (D-VAMS) are based on the Circumplex Model of Affect, and consist of seven bipolar scales: Miserable-Satisfied, Sad-Happy, Distressed-Peaceful, Bored-Excited, Afraid-Calm, Angry-Peaceful and Sleepy-Alert. The scales comprise images of human faces whose expressions change according to the position of a slider. The design of D-VAMS was based on analyses of ratings of posed facial expressions in three studies (n=44, n=64, n=110) and scaling data (n=110) by a non-clinical sample. Initial validity findings in a sample of stroke survivors (n=46) indicate that the D-VAMS is a valid and reliable measure of pleasantness of mood on a scale of 0–100, and is suitable for use with stroke patients with aphasia (Barrows & Thomas, 2017).

The D-VAMS can be run from the D-VAMS website. It can also be run locally on most devices with a browser using the D-VAMS v3.0 Install Kit. It is free to use but please make a donation if you find it useful. If you experience problems with pages not fitting on your screen, it is recommended that you use Google Chrome browser with the Zoom extension installed.

Further information and resources
♦ D-VAMS Android App free from Google Play Store
♦ Barrows, P. D., & Thomas, S. A. (2017) Assessment of mood in aphasia following stroke: psychometric properties of the Dynamic Visual Analogue Mood Scales (D-VAMS). Clinical Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1177/0269215517714590
♦ PhD Thesis  Barrows, P. D. (2016) The development and validation of mood scales suitable for use with stroke patients with aphasia. University of Nottingham, University of Nottingham ePrints
♦ D-VAMS Project Poster 2016-11-30
    Presented at 11th UK Stroke Forum Conference, 28-30 November 2016
♦ D-VAMS Project Poster 2014-11-26
    Presented at 9th UK Stroke Forum Conference, 2-4 December 2014

Demonstration of D-VAMS assessment run (v3.0)
Six-item version (v2.0) here
Animated run-through of D-VAMS scale images (HD)

Developed at: Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Division of Rehabilitation & Ageing, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, NG7 2UH.
Contact: Dr. Paul Barrows at