RUB » Faculty of Psychology » MHRTC » Open Access Diagnostic Instruments »Brief Social Rhythm Scale (BSRS)

Open Access Diagnostic Instruments

Brief Social Rhythm Scale 
Open Access




Jürgen Margraf
Silvia Schneider



(Chinese, English, German, Russian versions)





Social rhythm refers to the regularity with which one engages in social activities throughout the week, and has established links with bipolar disorder, as well as some links with depression and anxiety. Just as daily biological patterns, such as circadian rhythm, temperature fluctuations, and cortisol levels, are integral to good mental health, with disruptions associated with depression, so it appears are rhythmic social and behavioral patterns, for example in mealtimes, bedtimes, and patterns of social interaction. Social rhythm was assessed using the Brief Social Rhythm Scale (BSRS; Margraf et al. 2016). This scale consists of ten items, which assess the irregularity with which participants engage in basic daily activities during the workweek and on the weekend. The BSRS assesses waking and bedtimes and breakfast and dinner mealtimes. It also assesses the regularity of time spent with others at work/school and during free time. Participants are asked to rate the general regularity of each activity in their lives in general using a scale ranging from 1 (very regularly) to 6 (very irregularly), with high mean scores indicating high irregularity. This measure can be administered at a single time point, rather than requiring a week of daily data to score. Summary scores are the average across all 10 items. The BSRS shows a slight positive skewed distribution. It is reliable, distinguishes among categories of mental health and detects relationships with physical and mental health, and is especially useful in large-scale or screening studies, where participant time is limited (Margraf et al. 2016).In the German representative telephone data, item-total correlations ranged from r=.25 to r=.54. Cronbach’s alpha was α=.75 in Germany, .83 in USA, and .82 in Russia, and was .82 across all three countries combined. Test-retest-reliability in a subsample study of 1294 people from Germany from the BOOM study who took the measure online or in paper and pencil format at time 1 and time 2 (4 weeks later) was r=.70.


  • Scale (also in other language versions if existing)
  • Central paper:
  • Margraf, J., Lavallee, K., Zhang, X., Schneider, S. (2016). Social Rhythm and Mental Health: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150312. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150312.
  • Reference to be used:
    • Margraf, J., Lavallee, K., Zhang, X., Schneider, S. (2016). Social Rhythm and Mental Health: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150312. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150312.
  • Additional papers of interest:
    • Brailovskaia, J., Teismann, T., Margraf, J. (2018). Physical activity mediates the association between daily stress and Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) – A longitudinal approach among German students. Computers in Human Behavior, 86, 199-204. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.04.045.
    • Cai, D., Zhu, M., Lin, M., Zhang, X.C., Margraf, J. (2017). The bidirectional relationship between positive mental health and social rhythm in college students: a three-year longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:1119. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01119.
    • Velten, J., Bieda, A., Scholten, S., Wannemüller, A., Margraf, J. (2018). Lifestyle choices and mental health: a longitudinal survey with German and Chinese students. BMC Public Health, 18:632. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-018-5526-2.
    • Velten, J., Lavallee, K., Scholten, S., Meyer, A., Zhang, X.C., Schneider, S., Margraf, J. (2014). Lifestyle choices and mental health: a representative population survey. BMC Psychology, 2, 58. DOI: 10.1186/240359-014-0055-y.
    • Zhang, X.C., Kuchinke, L., Woud, M.L., Velten, J., Margraf, J. (2017). Survey method matters: Online/offline questionnaires and face-to-face or telephone interviews differ. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 172-180. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.02.006.