Variability in lay perceptions of depression: a vignette study

S.D. Heim, J.M. Smallwood, J.B. Davies

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a study investigating lay perceptions of depression in terms of perceived severity. Students (N=128) were presented with vignettes describing individuals with symptoms of depression based on DSM-IV. The descriptions were varied in terms of gender, social status, and a self-referent manner of communicating depressive symptomatology. Participants were asked to rate the degree to which vignette characters were thought to be depressed on a Likert-type scale. Results indicate that a non-self-referent style of communicating depressive symptoms by female vignette characters was seen as an indication of elevated levels of depression, and these findings are discussed with reference to the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • variability
  • lay perceptions
  • depression
  • vignette study

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