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October 1988

The Value of Structured Clinical Interviews

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry University of Mainz Untere Zahlbacher Straβe 8 D-6500 Mainz, Federal Republic of Germany

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(10):963-964. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800340091016

To the Editor.—  Structured interviews are extensively used in epidemiologic and clinical settings for case identification and classification of psychiatric disorders. They are considered to enhance the reliability and validity of the classification. However, no empirical data are available that demonstrate the superiority of structured clinical interviews relative to nonstandardized clinical interviews performed by clinicians using a checklist of the criteria of operationalized diagnoses. To fill this gap, diagnoses of depressive and anxiety disorders were compared for reliability and procedural validity using a structured clinical interview and a checklist procedure.

Patients and Methods.—  Forty consecutive inpatients with depressive and/or anxiety syndromes (diagnosed as effective psychosis, neuroses, or adjustment reaction in International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision) were interviewed four times during the third and fourth week of hospitalization with equidistant temporal intervals; twice in a structured clinical interview using the SCID-UP (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III, Upjohn Version1) and

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