A 5-Year Longitudinal Study on Mood Variability Across Adolescence Using Daily Diaries

Dominique F. Maciejewski*, Pol A.C. van Lier, Susan J.T. Branje, Wim H.J. Meeus, Hans M. Koot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study explored the development of mood variability in 474 Dutch adolescents (56.8% male, 90.1% medium to high socioeconomic status) from a community sample, followed from ages 13 to 18 years. Three times per year, adolescents reported on daily happiness, anger, sadness, and anxiety for 5 days using Internet diaries (15 assessment weeks; from 2006 to 2010). Mood variability scores were calculated as means of absolute differences between consecutive days. Results showed that happiness, anger, and sadness variability continuously declined across adolescence, while anxiety variability increased initially, then decreased, and then increased toward late adolescence. Despite females experiencing higher happiness and sadness variability, the rate of change across adolescence was similar for both sexes. Implications for normative emotional development and future studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1908-1921
Number of pages14
JournalChild Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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