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Variable mood is an important feature of psychiatric disorders. However, its measurement and relationship to objective measureas of physiology and behaviour have rarely been studied. Smart-phones facilitate continuous personalized prospective monitoring of subjective experience and behavioural and physiological signals can be measured through wearable devices. Such passive data streams allow novel estimates of diurnal variability. Phase and amplitude of diurnal rhythms were quantified using new techniques that fitted sinusoids to heart rate (HR) and acceleration signals. We investigated mood and diurnal variation for four days in 20 outpatients with bipolar disorder (BD), 14 with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and 20 healthy controls (HC) using a smart-phone app, portable electrocardiogram (ECG), and actigraphy. Variability in negative affect, positive affect, and irritability was elevated in patient groups compared with HC. The study demonstrated convincing associations between variability in subjective mood and objective variability in diurnal physiology. For BPD there was a pattern of positive correlations between mood variability and variation in activity, sleep and HR. The findings suggest BPD is linked more than currently believed with a disorder of diurnal rhythm; in both BPD and BD reducing the variability of sleep phase may be a way to reduce variability of subjective mood.

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