Making a Structured Psychiatric Diagnostic Interview Faithful to the Nomenclature

Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA. <>
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 11/2004; 160(8):808-13. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwh283
Source: PubMed


Psychiatric diagnostic interviews to be used in epidemiologic studies by lay interviewers have, since the 1970s, attempted to operationalize existing psychiatric nomenclatures. How to maximize the chances that they do so successfully has not previously been spelled out. In this article, the authors discuss strategies for each of the seven steps involved in writing, updating, or modifying a diagnostic interview and its supporting materials: 1) writing questions that match the nomenclature's criteria, 2) checking that respondents will be willing and able to answer the questions, 3) choosing a format acceptable to interviewers that maximizes accurate answering and recording of answers, 4) constructing a data entry and cleaning program that highlights errors to be corrected, 5) creating a diagnostic scoring program that matches the nomenclature's algorithms, 6) developing an interviewer training program that maximizes reliability, and 7) computerizing the interview. For each step, the authors discuss how to identify errors, correct them, and validate the revisions. Although operationalization will never be perfect because of ambiguities in the nomenclature, specifying methods for minimizing divergence from the nomenclature is timely as users modify existing interviews and look forward to updating interviews based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, and the International Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision.

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Available from: Linda B Cottler, Nov 05, 2014
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