OBJECTIVE: Imagery appears to play an important role in mood variability, a core symptom of patients suffering from bipolar disorder. The present study aimed to explore the validity and reliability of an online self-report measure of imagery, the Dutch Imagery Survey (DImS). The DImS is an adaptation of the Imagery interview used in research on imagery in mental disorders. The present study additionally explored the ability of the DImS to detect relationships between self-reported imagery and subsequent mood and subsequent behaviour.
METHOD: 135 students completed the DImS and additional mental imagery and mood questionnaires. For re-test reliability, 42 students completed the survey again within two days.
RESULTS: Internal consistencies and test-retest scores of the five scales of the DImS were reasonable. Imagery Quality correlated with Emotions, and to a lesser degree with Behaviour. Positive Appraisals correlated with Positive Emotions, Negative Appraisals with Negative Emotions, and Positive appraisals with Behaviour. Frequency of Imagery, Imagery Quality and Positive Appraisals correlated with elevated mood. Imagery Quality and Negative Appraisals correlated with low mood. The DImS took approximately 15 min to complete.
LIMITATIONS: Re-test reliability was limited due to participants changing their dominant image. Results need to be replicated in a clinical sample.
CONCLUSIONS: Psychometric findings with the DImS appeared reasonable and consistent and showed that, in line with other recent studies, imagery is related to current mood and to both self-perceived emotion and subsequent behaviour. These findings suggested that the DImS is suitable to study the role of imagery in bipolar mood variability.