College Students’ Reasons for Depression Nondisclosure in Primary Care

William J. Meyer, Patrick Morrison, Anayansi Lombardero, Kelsey Swingle, Duncan G. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Unwillingness to share depression experiences with primary care physicians contributes to the undertreatment of depression. This project examined college students’ reasons for depression nondisclosure to primary care providers (PCPs). Undergraduate participants read a vignette describing someone with depression and completed measures of disclosure barriers. Analyses indicated 26% of respondents would NOT disclose depression symptoms to PCPs. Reasons for nondisclosure included difficulty initiating the depression conversation, medication aversion, and fear of referral to a psychologist. Also, anger toward the vignette character varied with disclosure willingness, suggesting that nondisclosers feel more stigma than disclosers and are less likely to engage in psychotherapy. Because engagement in pharmacological and/or psychotherapeutic treatment requires identification of depression in healthcare settings, increased understanding of disclosure barriers could increase students’ access to depression treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of College Student Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016


  • Barriers to treatment
  • college students
  • depression treatment
  • primary care


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