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Emotional response of participants to a mental health survey.

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NHMRC Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


Following participation in a mental health survey of 2725 adults aged 18-79, respondents were asked if the questionnaire had made them feel distressed or depressed, and if it had been an intrusion on privacy or had made them feel good about themselves. While 5% reported feeling distressed, 3% depressed and 3% were concerned about privacy, 35% reported feeling good about themselves. The participants reporting negative feelings were more likely to be younger women, to be higher on negative personality measures, to report more anxiety and depression symptoms, and to have had more childhood adversity and lower social support. Those who reported positive feelings had higher positive personality scores, more social support and lower anxiety and depression. This group was more likely to be older women. Despite the sensitive nature of many of the questions, only a small percentage of respondents reported distress, while many found that the questionnaire had made them feel good about themselves. This is important information to present to Institutional Ethics Committees and to future participants in such studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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