OToPS/Measures/Morning-Eveningness Questionnaire

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Lead section[edit | edit source]

The Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) is a self-assessment created by Horne and Ostberg in the 1970s to measure preferences for morning versus evening in relation to human circadian rhythms.[1] In creating the MEQ, the authors used a population of people ages 18-32 to ascertain validity, but, since its creation, it has been expanded to older populations.[2] Each item measures an individual's ability to wake up at a certain time, how alert they feel when they wake, what time they sleep, and what times they feel most alert. The MEQ contains 19 multiple choice items and takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. The MEQ is used mostly by researchers to measure a research participant's morning-evening preference, and has been used as the "gold standard" measure of morningness preference of an individual.[2]

Reliability[edit | edit source]

Reliability[edit | edit source]

Click here for instrument reliability table

Reliability[edit | edit source]

Reliability refers to whether the scores are reproducible. Unless otherwise specified, the reliability scores and values come from studies done with a United States population sample. Here is the rubric for evaluating the reliability of scores on a measure for the purpose of evidence based assessment.

Evaluation for norms and reliability for the MEQ (table from Youngstrom et al., extending Hunsley & Mash, 2008; *indicates new construct or category)
Criterion Rating (adequate, good, excellent, too good*) Explanation with references
Norms Adequate In the original study validating the MEQ, sample size was 150 with approximately the same number of males and females.[1] However, more recent research has suggested that adults in the age range of this original sample (18-32) fall more typically in the eveningness preference, so cut-off values of older participants should be adjusted.[2]
Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha, split half, etc.) Good Alphas range between 0.77-0.86 according to a meta-analysis conducted looking at the psychometric properties of circadian typology scales.[2]
Inter-rater reliability Not applicable The MEQ is designed as a self-report scale for youths 18 and older.[1][2]
Test-retest reliability (stability across multiple testings) Excellent The test-retest reliability is 0.84-0.95 over a 1-3 month range.[2]
Repeatability Not published No published studies formally checking repeatability.

Validity[edit | edit source]

Click here for instrument validity table

Validity[edit | edit source]

Validity describes the evidence that an assessment tool measures what it was supposed to measure. There are many different ways of checking validity. For screening measures, diagnostic accuracy and discriminative validity are probably the most useful ways of looking at validity. Unless otherwise specified, the validity scores and values come from studies done with a United States population sample. Here is a rubric for describing validity of test scores in the context of evidence-based assessment.

Evaluation of validity and utility for the MEQ (table from Youngstrom et al., unpublished, extended from Hunsley & Mash, 2008; *indicates new construct or category)
Criterion Rating (adequate, good, excellent, too good*) Explanation with references
Content validity Very good Content covers characteristics of morning and evening chronotypes, but does not include questions about melatonin levels or any other biological markers of a morning-evening chronotype.[1][2]
Construct validity (e.g., predictive, concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity) Excellent Shows convergent validity with other chronotype scales,[2] as well as timing of body temperature,[1] cortisol secretion,[3] melatonin production,[4] and sleep habits. [5]
Discriminative validity Very good Both in the creation of the MEQ and in a meta-analytic report of the MEQ show that the MEQ can consistently and accurately report a person's chronotype as morning or evening.[1][2]
Validity generalization Good Validated as a self report in populations ranging from 18 to 50 and older. [1][2]
Treatment sensitivity N/A N/A
Clinical utility Very good Free (public domain), strong psychometrics, extensive research base. One problem with the measure is that the cut-offs for older people may need to be adjusted as future studies done with participants between the ages of 40-60 found that the cut-off scores from the original study were not as precisely reporting this age group's chronotype. [6]

Development and history[edit | edit source]

The creators of the MEQ, J. Horne and O. Ostberg, designed the MEQ to assess the theory of a two category chronotype, Morning or Evening. [1] The original MEQ was created by Oquist in 1970 in an attempt to distinguish between a morning and evening chronotype. [1] Ostberg later adapted Oquist's version for a study looking at the relationship between circadian rhythms, food intake, oral temperature, and the two chronotypes. [1] Ostberg later, once again, adapted the MEQ for a study looking at people's suitability for shift work in relation to their morning-evening chronotype. [1] The present MEQ is an adaptation of the Swedish version, with some items re-written to adjust for cultural differences between Sweden and England. [1]

In revising the questionnaire, Horne and Ostberg also revised the clarity, length, and scoring of the questionnaire and its items. [1] Each item is constructed such that the response to the item will add to a total score. The higher the score, the more "morningness" the chronotype is. The final item number of the MEQ is 19. Since its creation, the MEQ has been translated and validated in multiple languages, and has been widely regarded as the gold standard assessment of the morning-evening chronotype. [2]

Impact[edit | edit source]

The MEQ is widely considered the gold standard assessment for assessing morning-evening chronotypes. [2] As a result, other measures of circadian typology such as the Composite Scale of Morningness, Preference Scale, and Munich Chronotype Questionnaire are validated against the MEQ. [2] Because of its strong psychometric properties, the MEQ has been used in a multitude of sleep research studies to further the understanding of the relationship between circadian typology and other biological systems.

Furthermore, research indicates a relationship between circadian typology and risk of developing mental illnesses. A meta-analytic review of the relationship of circadian typology and a diagnosis of an Axis-I disorder in the DSM-IV report that those with an evening chronotype more often had Axis-I diagnoses, namely anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. [7] Another review reported that a disturbance in circadian rhythms was strongly related to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. [8] The existing relationship between chronotype preference and mental illness can aid clinicians in the assessment and diagnosis of various mental disorders. Furthermore, knowing that there is a connection between chronotype preference and mental illness can inform sleep-targeted treatment options to treat and prevent symptoms of a mental illness.

Use in other populations[edit | edit source]

The MEQ has been translated and validated in many different languages including French, German, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish. [9]

Scoring instructions and syntax[edit | edit source]

We have syntax in three major languages: R, SPSS, and SAS. All variable names are the same across all three, and all match the CSV shell that we provide as well as the Qualtrics export.

Hand scoring and general instructions[edit | edit source]

Click here for hand scoring and general administration instructions

The MEQ is a self-report, multiple choice survey. None of the items are reverse scores. Each item will add to the total score for the user. The recommended cut-offs created by Horne and Ostberg is as follows:

  • Definitely morning type: 70-86
  • Moderately morning type: 59-69
  • Neither type: 42-58
  • Moderately evening type: 31-41
  • Definitely evening type: 16-30

However, these cut-off values were calculated using participants between the ages 18-32. Participants who are older tend to be more of the morning preference. Research suggests an adjusted cut-off scores for users 40 and older. They are as follows[2]:

  • Morning type: 65-86
  • Intermediate: 53-64
  • Evening type: 16-52

CSV shell for sharing[edit | edit source]

Click here for CSV shell
  • <Paste link to CSV shell here>

Here is a shell data file that you could use in your own research. The variable names in the shell corresponds with the scoring code in the code for all three statistical programs.

Note that our CSV includes several demographic variables, which follow current conventions in most developmental and clinical psychology journals. You may want to modify them, depending on where you are working. Also pay attention to the possibility of "deductive identification" -- if we ask personal information in enough detail, then it may be possible to figure out the identity of a participant based on a combination of variables.

When different research projects and groups use the same variable names and syntax, it makes it easier to share the data and work together on integrative data analyses or "mega" analyses (which are different and better than meta-analysis in that they are combining the raw data, versus working with summary descriptive statistics).

R/SPSS/SAS syntax[edit | edit source]

Click here for R code
# Note: creating variable to reference data set

meq <- read_csv("~/Desktop/395.299/MEQ/meq.csv")

# Note: attach variables to variable names in data set so that you can call variables by their name


# Note: finding score for MEQ

meqScore = meq01+meq02+meq03+meq04+meq05+meq06+meq07+meq08+meq09+meq10+meq11+meq12+meq13+meq14+meq15+meq16+meq17+meq18+meq19

Click here for SPSS code

  • Note: finding score for MEQ:

COMPUTE MEQscore = SUM(meq01, meq02, meq03, meq04, meq05, meq06, meq07, meq08, meq09, meq10, meq11, meq12, meq13, meq14, meq15, meq16, meq17, meq18, meq19).

  • Note: finding reliability statistics for MEQ

reliability /var meq01 to meq19 /sum total.

  • Note: matching MEQ score to their chronotype

RECODE MEQscore (lo thru 30 = 1) (31 thru 41 = 2) (42 thru 58 = 3) (59 thru 69 = 4) (70 thru hi = 5) into MEQtype.

value labels meqtype 1 'Definite Evening Type' 2 'Moderate Evening Type' 3 'No strong preference' 4 'Moderate Morning Type' 5 'Definite Morning Type'.

variable labels MEQscore 'Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire Raw Total' / MEQtype 'Morningness-Eveningness Type'.

Click here for SAS code
data MEQ_score;

set main.meq;

Total = SUM(of meq01 - meq19);


* Note: Eric's score is 58, which is expected!;

* Note: to get Cronbach's Alpha ;

proc corr data= main.meq alpha;
var meq01 - meq19;


* Cronbach's Alpha is 0.809;

* Note: correlation should be 1.0 between them all;

proc reg data = MEQ_score;
model total = meq01 - meq19;


* Note: and it is, so this verifies that our model (straight adding) is correct;

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

OToPS usage history[edit | edit source]

Date Added

(when was measure added to OTOPS Survey?

<See Towards a Gantt Chart>
Date Deleted

(when was measure dropped from OTOPS survey?)

<active/deleted>, <date>
Qualtrics scoring Variable name of internally scored variable:


Notes on internal scoring:

- Is it piped?

- Is it POMP-ed?

- Any transformations needed to make it comparable to published benchmarks?

Content expert Name: Jane Doe, Ph.D.

Institution/Country: University of Wikiversity / Canada

Email: Type email out

Contacted: Y/N

Following page: Y/N

References[edit | edit source]

Click here for references
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Horne, J. A.; Ostberg, O. (1976). "A self assessment questionnaire to determine morningness-eveningness in human circadian rhythms". International Journal of Chronobiology 4: 97-110. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Milia, L; Adan, A; Natale, V; Randler, C (2013). "Reviewing the psychometric properties of contemporary circadian typology measures". Chronobiology International 30: 1261-1271. doi:10.3109/07420528.2013.817415. 
  3. Bailey, SL; Heitkemper, MM (2001). "Circadian rhythmicity of cortisol and body temperature: Morningness-eveningness effects". Chronobiol Int 18: 249-61. 
  4. Griefhan, B; Kunemund, C; Brode, P; Menhert, P (2001). "Zur validitatder deutschen ubersetzung des morningness-eveningness questionnaires von Horne und Ostberg and sleep habits". Somnologie 5: 71-80. 
  5. Ishihara, K; Miyasita, A; Inugami, M; et al. (1987). "Difference in sleep-wake habits and EEG sleep variables between active morning and evening subjects". Sleep 10: 330-42. 
  6. Taillard, J; Phillip, P; Chastang, FJ; Bioulac, B (2004). "Validation of the Horne and Ostberg morningness-eveningness questionnaire in a middle-aged population of French workers". J Biol Rhythms 19: 76-86. 
  7. Reid, Kathryn; Jaksa, Ashley; Eisengart, Julie; Baron, Kelly; Lu, Brandon; Kane, Peter; Kang, Joseph; Zee, Phyllis (2012). "Systematic evaluation of Axis-I DSM diagnoses in delayed sleep phase disorder and evening-type circadian preference". Sleep Medicine 13. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2012.06.024. 
  8. Gonzalez, Robert (2014). "The Relationship Between Bipolar Disorder and Biological Rhythms". Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 75: 323-331. doi:10.4088/JCP.13r08507. 
  9. "Sleep related questionnaires: morningness -eveningness questionnaire (MEQ)". www.thoracic.org. Retrieved 27 September 2017.