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Person-fit feedback on inconsistent symptom reports in clinical depression care

  • Rob B. K. Wanders (a1), Rob R. Meijer (a2), Henricus G. Ruhé (a3), Sjoerd Sytema (a1), Klaas J. Wardenaar (a1) and Peter de Jonge (a1) (a4)...



Depressive patients can present with complex and different symptom patterns in clinical care. Of these, some may report patterns that are inconsistent with typical patterns of depressive symptoms. This study aimed to evaluate the validity of person-fit statistics to identify inconsistent symptom reports and to assess the clinical usefulness of providing clinicians with person-fit score feedback during depression assessment.


Inconsistent symptom reports on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report (IDS-SR) were investigated quantitatively with person-fit statistics for both intake and follow-up measurements in the Groningen University Center of Psychiatry (n = 2036). Subsequently, to investigate the causes and clinical usefulness of on-the-fly person-fit alerts, qualitative follow-up assessments were conducted with three psychiatrists about 20 of their patients that were randomly selected.


Inconsistent symptom reports at intake (12.3%) were predominantly characterized by reporting of severe symptoms (e.g. psychomotor slowing) without mild symptoms (e.g. irritability). Person-fit scores at intake and follow-up were positively correlated (r = 0.45). Qualitative interviews with psychiatrists resulted in an explanation for the inconsistent response behavior (e.g. complex comorbidity, somatic complaints, and neurological abnormalities) for 19 of 20 patients. Psychiatrists indicated that if provided directly after the assessment, a person-fit alert would have led to new insights in 60%, and be reason for discussion with the patient in 75% of the cases.


Providing clinicians with automated feedback when inconsistent symptom reports occur is informative and can be used to support clinical decision-making.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Rob B. K. Wanders, E-mail:


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Person-fit feedback on inconsistent symptom reports in clinical depression care

  • Rob B. K. Wanders (a1), Rob R. Meijer (a2), Henricus G. Ruhé (a3), Sjoerd Sytema (a1), Klaas J. Wardenaar (a1) and Peter de Jonge (a1) (a4)...


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