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August 1964

Content Reliability Of a Structured Psychiatric Interview

Author Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Dr. I. F. Small); Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Dr. J. G. Small); Fellow in Psychiatry (Dr. Gonzalez); and Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology (Dr. Gynther), Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(2):192-196. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720260086013

Introduction  The clinical history obtained from the patient and his family furnishes the essential information for psychiatric diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment planning. Moreover the interview is regarded by many as a therapeutic process, which, when skillfully employed, may guide the examiner to an understanding of the significant dynamics and conflicts of the patient. Information derived from interview sources is also widely utilized in research and is assumed to possess sufficient reliability to be meaningful for scientific purposes.However, several studies have shown that the patient's account of his illness, symptoms, and past history is often contradictory..4,7,15,16 Further, in the usual clinical situation, individual physicians tend to ask different questions in their own personal style, to emphasize various topics unequally, and to record information in idiosyncratic ways.2,10,13 These practices have compounded the difficulties in the understanding of patients, the interpretation

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