Effects of three types of potentially biasing information on symptom severity judgments for major depressive episode

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Abstract

Two experiments examined the effects of potentially biasing information on judgments of symptom severity pertaining to the diagnosis of major depressive episode (MDE). In both experiments, clinicians viewed videotapes of two actor-simulated patients responding to questions from a standardized diagnostic interview. In Study 1, an expectancy effect was found for both patients such that prior information about a clear-cut history of depression resulted in lower rated severity of current symptoms. In addition, a halo effect was observed for one patient in Study 1 and both patients in Study 2: Clear-cut depressive nonverbal behavior (DNVB) resulted in greater rated severity for symptoms that should not have been affected (e.g., appetite/weight change, suicidal ideation). Clear-cut versus nearthreshold information for the two essential criteria for MDE did not affect subsequent judgments in either study. Implications for diagnostic interviewing are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1345
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume58
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002

Keywords

  • Anchoring effect
  • Clinical judgment
  • Diagnostic decision making
  • Expectancy effect
  • Halo effect
  • Judgmental biases
  • Symptom judgment

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