The ability of naive subjects to report symptoms of mild brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder

J Clin Psychol. 1994 Mar;50(2):252-6. doi: 10.1002/1097-4679(199403)50:2<252::aid-jclp2270500217>;2-t.


Diagnoses of major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and mild brain injury are based in substantial part on the self-reported symptoms of patients. This study found that 96.9% of untrained subjects were able to endorse symptoms on checklists to meet the DSM-III-R self-report criteria for major depression, 96.9% for generalized anxiety disorder, and 86% for PTSD. For the non-DSM-III-R diagnosis of mild brain injury, 63.3% of subjects were able to correctly identify 5 or more of 10 symptoms associated with this condition. Forensic examiners are advised to exercise special care in utilizing evaluation procedures that are of a leading nature, such as symptom checklists in which examinees may exhibit response biases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis*
  • Head Injuries, Closed / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology