Self-report bias and underreporting of depression on the BDI-II

J Pers Assess. 2003 Feb;80(1):26-30. doi: 10.1207/S15327752JPA8001_10.


One problem in identifying and treating depression is underreporting of symptoms by individuals. Previous research suggests that there may be systematic sex differences in self-report bias,with men tending to minimize their depressive symptoms more than women. This study used an experimental design with a sample of 238 community members to test whether disguising the purpose of the Beck Depression Inventory-II would significantly reduce self-report bias, especially in men. We found a main effect of condition such that both men and women reported significantly more core depressive symptoms in the covert condition, suggesting that surveys of community samples may underestimate the prevalence of depression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bias
  • Depression / classification
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prevalence
  • Self-Assessment*
  • United States / epidemiology