May 1978

The Value of Interviewing Family and Friends in Assessing Life Stressors

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Affective Diseases Research Unit, VA Hospital, and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(5):565-567. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770290047004

• A reliability study of a life events questionnaire administered to 117 pairs of respondents indicated that a "significant other" (family member or friend) added approximately 29% new information to that gathered from the patient alone. A validity check of this information with a "knowledgeable" third party confirmed approximately 80% of the events reported by the subjects and significant others. The findings suggest that studies designed to collect information about the occurrence of specific life stressors would obtain more reliable and no less valid data from separate interviews of patients and significant others, and the pooling of the positive responses obtained from these two sources.