Ambulatory assessment in psychopathology research: A review of recommended reporting guidelines and current practices

J Abnorm Psychol. 2020 Jan;129(1):56-63. doi: 10.1037/abn0000473.


The use of ambulatory assessment (AA; Trull & Ebner-Priemer, 2013) in psychopathology research, which includes experience-sampling methods as well as ecological momentary assessment, has increased dramatically over the last several decades. Previously, methodological and reporting guidelines have been presented to outline best practices and provide input on methodological issues and decisions that are faced when planning and conducting AA studies (e.g., Bolger & Laurenceau, 2013; Mehl & Conner, 2012; Stone & Shiffman, 2002). However, despite the publication of these important resources and guidelines, it remains an open question as to how much uniformity or consistency is evident in the design and reporting of AA studies of psychopathology. To address this, we reviewed the reported practices of published studies using AA in major psychopathology journals (Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Medicine, Clinical Psychological Science) over the last 7 years (2012-2018). Our review highlights (a) sample selection and size; (b) sampling design; (c) selection and reporting of measures; (d) devices used and software; (e) compliance; (f) participant training, monitoring and remuneration; and (g) data management and analysis. We conclude with recommendations for reporting the features of future AA studies in psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Psychopathology
  • Research*