Inverse relationship between defensiveness and lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorder

R. L. Lane, K. R. Merikangas, G. E. Schwartz, S. S. Huang, B. A. Prusoff

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Defensiveness (the tendency not to report unfavorable information about oneself), as measured by the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, has been shown to be inversely correlated with self-reported symptoms. In this family study of depression, direct interviews with 380 subjects combined with relatives' reports revealed a similar inverse relationship between defensiveness and lifetime prevalence of any psychiatric disorder, especially when diagnostic status was most certain and among those at greater risk for psychopathology. The authors conclude that the Marlowe-Crowne scale measures a factor or trait associated with the relative absence of psychiatric disorder, not the underreporting or denial of disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-578
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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