Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.14, No.1, 1998. pp. 1529

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Effects of Interview Mode on Measuring Depression in Younger Adults

Survey mode effects on self-reported depression as measured by the CES-D were estimated in an urban-suburban sample of 18-45 year-old male and female respondents. In this field experiment, respondents selected through an area probability sample were randomly assigned to one of three interview modes: self-administered, face-to-face, or telephone. There were no differences in depression scores between telephone and face-to-face modes. The self-administered mode yielded higher CES-D scores than either of the interviewer-administered modes. Results suggest that the degree of response anonymity during the interview influences respondents' willingness to reveal sensitive, personal information. A concurrent RDD sample of the same population also produced CES-D estimates significantly lower than the self-administered mode but equivalent to the face-to-face interview.

Survey mode; sensitive questions; self-administered questionnaire; social desirability bias.

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