Improving accuracy of major depression age-of-onset reports in the US national comorbidity survey
This paper describes a series of questions designed to improve the accuracy of age-of-anset reports in the US National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) and empirically evaluates the impact of these questions on reports about age of onset of major dépressive episodes. The logic underlying the series of question is traced to cognitive psychological research on autobiographical memory. Data are presented showing that the new question series yielded more substantively plausible age-of-onset reports than those obtained a decade earlier in the Epidemiologie Catchment Area (EGA) Study. The test-retest consistency of age-of-onset reports was oho higher in the NCS than the EC A. Despite these improvements, considerable inconsistency in age'O/-onset reports remains in the NCS test-retest data. The paper closes with a discussion of potentially promising future directions to improve retrospective age-of-onset reports in new psychiatric epidemiological surveys.