Original Publication
Open Access

Critical Synthesis Package: Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ)

Published: December 2, 2013 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9622

Included in this publication:

  • Critical Analysis of the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire.pdf
  • SPAQ Instrument.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


This Critical Synthesis Package contains: (1) a Critical Analysis of the psychometric properties and the application to health sciences education of the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ), and (2) a copy of the instrument developed by Norman Rosenthal, MD.

The SPAQ is a brief, self-administered screening tool for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The Seasonality Score (composed of six behavior ratings from Question 11) is used to determine the potential presence of SAD. A score of 11 or higher on this scale, along with an endorsement of at least moderate difficulties with seasonal change, indicates that further assessment should be conducted to confirm whether a diagnosis of SAD is warranted. The SPAQ is widely used in adult clinical and community samples as a screening tool for SAD. Validation studies have indicated adequate test-retest reliability and internal consistency. Several studies have been conducted with college students (including medical students) and have indicated adequate psychometric properties within these samples as well. The SPAQ may be useful in informing administrators, faculty, and student health center providers about student wellness. It also may be used in student self-assessment of intrapersonal competencies.

Educational Objectives

  1. To describe the purpose and basic properties of the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ), including number of items and scales, and psychometric properties;
  2. To describe the application of the SPAQ to the field of health sciences education;
  3. To evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the SPAQ; and
  4. To provide the SPAQ for administration.

Author Information

  • Lauren Penwell-Waines, PhD: Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
  • Lara Stepleman, PhD: Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University

None to report.

None to report.


Penwell-Waines L, Stepleman L. Critical synthesis package: seasonal pattern assessment questionnaire (SPAQ). MedEdPORTAL. 2013;9:9622. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9622