A Mobile Diary Method for Studying Children’s and Adolescents’ Emotions: a Pilot Study

Kaisa Malinen, Anna Rönkä, Asko Tolvanen, Eija Sevón, Kimmo Jokinen


Researching children’s and adolescents’ emotions from their own perspectives possesses special requirements for the data collection tools
used. In this study, children’s and early adolescents’ emotions were investigated using a mobile diary method. The article describes and evaluates this data collection method and presents empirical results on fluctuation in the emotions of children and adolescents (n = 60, aged 7–14 years). The data, in the form of short text messages, were collected over one week. Every evening, children received seven questions on their emotions. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze the data. The results illustrate the potential of the mobile diary method with children and early adolescents. The data showed a two-factor structure, indicating that the mobile diary method was able to reveal the underlying dimensions of positive and negative emotions. The study also showed that daily variation in emotions along with systematic differences between participants in their emotional experiences (related to, e.g., the form of the family) can be captured using the method.


Children, Data Collection Tools, Early Adolescents, Emotions, Mobile Diary Method, Multi-level Modeling

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SIIW-15-1-2-05


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