Depressive symptoms and bias in perceived social competence among young adults

Sarah W. Whitton, Justine J. Larson, Stuart T. Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We examined associations between depressive symptoms and young adults' self-perceptions of social competence to explore whether higher symptoms are associated with self-evaluations that are more accurate (i.e., depressive realism), negatively biased (i.e., cognitive distortion), or less accurate (i.e., self-verification perspective). In 133 young adults, depressive symptoms and discrepancies between self- and peer ratings of social competence were assessed. Results demonstrated a linear relationship between depressive symptoms and self-peer discrepancies, such that higher symptoms were associated with underestimation of the self and low symptom levels were linked with overestimation of the self relative to peer evaluations. These findings suggest negative bias in dysphorics' self-perceptions, supporting cognitive distortion models, as well as positive bias in self-perceptions of those with low depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-805
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive distortion
  • Depressive realism
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Self-evaluation
  • Social competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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