Title

Selective Responsiveness of Chronically Ill Children to Assessments of Depression

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Personality Assessment

Volume

59

Issue

3

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Publication Date

1992

First Page

605

Last Page

615

DOI

10.1207/s15327752jpa5903_13

Abstract

Many investigators have noted that depression is a common symptom among pediatric cancer patients. However, prevalence rates vary widely across studies This variation in prevalence rates may be due, in part, to selective reporting of patients based on measure, used and environmental cues. In this study, we evaluated 50 chronically ill pediatric patients (19 cancer and 31 diabetic patients) for their use of selective reporting of depression. Factors in the 2 x 2 design were Intervention (disclosure videotape and cartoon videotape) and Examiner (familiar examiner and unfamiliar examiner). In the intervention manipulation, subjects were shown either a videotape prompting the child that self-disclosure was appropriate or a tape of a cartoon (control condition). In the Examiner manipulation, subjects were administered the experimental measures by either a familiar (parent) or unfamiliar (research assistant) examiner. Dependent variables were the Children's Depression inventory (CDI; Kovacs, 1981), the Depression scale of the Roberts Apperception Test for Children (RATC; McArthur & Roberts, 1982), and a depression measure taken from the Child Behavior Checktist (CBCL; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983). As hypothesized, the Examiner x intervention interaction revealed that children who did not view the disclosure videotape and who were tested by an unfamiliar examiner gave significantly lower self-reports of depression on the CDI than children in the other conditions. However, parent and child projective reports of depression did not vary as a function of experimental condition. The results are interpreted as selective responding on the part of pediatric patients. Limitations of assessing internal psychological states in children are discussed.

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