The Effect of Symptom Visibility on Informant Reporting

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Informant reporting is important in the assessment of depression and anxiety among individuals with cognitive impairment. The authors examined the influence of the visibility effect on the ease of rating depression and anxiety symptoms. Fifty-three family members of dementia patients and 65 staff members working with cognitively impaired adults judged the ratability of the Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms item pool. Results indicated that Appetite Loss, Lassitude, and Insomnia scales were easiest to rate; Suicidality and Traumatic Intrusions scales were most difficult to rate. Findings support the visibility effect and emphasize the importance of selecting easy to rate items for informants.

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