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.
- lay perceptions
- vignette study