Structured interviews are basically orally administered questionnaires. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule (Robins et al. 1981) is an orally administered questionnaire to be used by lay interviewers for making diagnoses according to DSM-III. The rating scales discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of this compendium rely on clinical, goal-directed interviews which depend for their accuracy very strongly upon the skill and experience of the rater (psychiatrist, psychologist or other skilled observer). However, in Chapter 2 is shown an example of a structured interview for the Hamilton Melancholia Scale. DSM-III-R emphasizes that the user should be trained in psychopathology before making diagnostic assessments. In some cases, however, the psychiatrist or psychologist is less skilled than nurses in the observation and assessment of clinical syndromes. Thus, in assessing the psychiatric inpatient’s competence in social or interpersonal relations and ability to perform basic activities of daily life, the nurse is the most appropriate rater, observing his behaviour in a natural way as it occurs. Rating scales such as the Hamilton Depression Scale have a high cross-national reliability because the clinical interview can be adapted with culturally specific idioms and questions, with the goal of improving the information obtained for the items of the scale.


Anxiety Scale Symptom Rate Scale Hamilton Depression Scale Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale Observer Scale 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Per Bech
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryFrederiksborg General HospitalHillerødDenmark

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