Objective: To add to the validity of the French version of the Composite Scale of Morningness (CSM) by comparing its structure with that of the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ), the most widely used scale to measure circadian typology. Second, to compare the cut-off criteria used to transform the continuous scores into categorical chronotypes. Third, to further test the effects of age and gender on morningness scores. The rMEQ, a shortened version of the MEQ, is also considered.
Methods: Four hundred and fifty-six students served as volunteer subjects and filled the CSM and the MEQ.
Results: There was no effect of gender, and the CSM and MEQ scores correlated above (+) 0.90 in both genders. Regarding age, morningness was stable before age 35 and increased afterwards. We replicated the three-factor structure of the CSM previously reported in five different cultures. The MEQ is longer and counted a fourth factor while the first three factors were quite identical to those extracted from the CSM. This comparative study emphasizes the recurrent problem of cut-off scores: the available values for both instruments result in a very poor concordance of chronotypes.
Conclusions: Belonging to the evening-type is regarded as a risk factor for sleep disorders and its positive predictive value should be correctly assessed. Hence, normative scores standardized in such a way they reflect the effects of age, gender and culture are needed for the total score and the factor scores. To this extent, T-scores (with a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10) would be suitable, and normative tables for French subjects (N = 1598) are given as supplemental data.