Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





depression, feedback, online, rapport, screening, therapeutic benefits


Kimberley Babb




Research has suggested that participating in in-person psychological testing is related to therapeutic benefits including: reduction in depressive symptomology, self-awareness, self-verification, self-esteem, and hope (Allen, 2001; Poston & Hanson, 2010). This study explored whether these findings applied with a more accessible asynchronous computerized format and examined the effects of computerized testing procedures (i.e., rapport-building video, self-disclosing personal information on questionnaires, receiving a feedback report) on therapeutic benefits (i.e., self-esteem, hope, self-awareness, self-verification, reduction in depressive symptomology). In addition, this study compared participants’ experiences receiving a computerized feedback format and an in-person feedback format. Undergraduate students aged 17 to 45 years (N = 126) participated in a two-part concurrent triangulation design study. In Part 1, participants watched a rapport-building video, completed online screening tools for depression, and measures of therapeutic benefits. For Part 2, participants came into the lab one week later and watched a second rapport-building video before receiving a feedback report (i.e., a summary of their reported symptomology on the screening tools). The test administrator showed 63 participants a paper copy of their feedback report and read it to them. The remaining participants (n = 63) received a computerized feedback report and read through it independently. Participants then completed the measures of therapeutic benefits again in addition to qualitative questions about their experience answering the screening questions and receiving feedback. Quantitative analyses revealed that, after receiving the feedback report, participants reported significant gains in new self-awareness and reductions in depressive symptomology, anxiety, and stress. The feedback format did not contribute to score differences for most measures administered. When specific groups of participants were examined, those with high feedback satisfaction reported less hopelessness than those with low feedback satisfaction. Participants with high self-verification reported greater gains in self-esteem and reductions in hopelessness in Part 2. Similarly, those with high new awareness and high rapport with the test administrator reported less hopelessness over time. Potential reasons for these changes in scores were examined using thematic analysis of qualitative responses. Participants reported on their self-disclosure tendencies; feelings and experiences participating in the current study; gains in new awareness; self-verification and perceived accuracy of the feedback; and perceptions of the test administrator. Findings suggest that completing online screening tools for depressive symptomology and receiving feedback has the potential to be a useful format for intervention. Additional practical applications and participant preferences regarding the use of online screening tools are discussed.