Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Sciences


Depression is a highly prevalent mental health disorder (Cao et al., 2020). In the athletic population, prevalence rates of depression have been extremely variable across studies, suggesting that athletes may be underreporting symptoms (Wolanin et al., 2015). Perceived privacy of data collection (Ong & Weiss, 2000) is a potential contributor to the likelihood of underreporting symptoms. The effects of altering the perceived privacy of self-report depression measures (i.e., manipulating anonymization of the measure and the participant’s relationship with the survey administrator) in a collegiate athlete population are currently unknown. Therefore, the purpose of the study is a) to compare the prevalence of depressive symptoms found in high privacy and low privacy conditions of self-report measures and b) to investigate the relationship between the reporting of depressive symptoms and social desirability bias. 131 NCAA DII and DIII collegiate athletes completed demographics questions, the Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 (Kroenke & Spitzer, 2002), the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale – 21 (Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale – Short Form (Strahan & Gerbasi, 1972). The prevalence of depressive symptoms across condition was examined with analyses of covariance, and the relationship between depressive symptom reporting and social desirability bias was examined with t tests and correlation coefficients. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was slightly higher in the low privacy condition, though this difference was insignificant. There was no relationship noted between the reporting of depressive symptoms and social desirability bias. A possible explanation for the results seen in the current study is the relationship between the athletes providing data and their athletic trainers, which could have been related to the increase in self-disclosure in the low privacy condition.



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