Handbook of Diagnostic and Structured Interviewing

Handbook of Diagnostic and Structured Interviewing

Handbook of Diagnostic and Structured Interviewing

Handbook of Diagnostic and Structured Interviewing


"In an increasingly competitive marketplace, psychologists and other mental health professionals strive to offer the best validated assessment methods tailored to their target populations. Handbook of Diagnostic and Structured Interviewing represents a new and important resource for clinical practice. The volume offers crucial guidance on the selection of appropriate measures for Axis I disorders, Axis II disorders, and specialized syndromes, marshaling up-to-date data on reliability, validity, and clinical applications. Providing the knowledge needed to make informed, appropriate use of these effective - and increasingly sophisticated diagnostic tools, the Handbook is an essential tool for today's clinician and researcher." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Mental health professionals are increasingly challenged to demonstrate the validity of their diagnostic and clinical conclusions. Health maintenance organizations and other third-party payers explicitly demand empirically based methods of assessment. Less overtly, clients and their families express concerns about the fallibility of clinical conclusions, namely, missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses. As part of the solution, structured interviews provide an important method of standardizing evaluations and demonstrating their diagnostic validity.

What are structured interviews? Briefly, structured interviews provide a systematic evaluation by standardizing (1) the specific language of clinical inquiries, (2) the sequencing of these inquiries, and (3) the quantification of responses. Their systematic appraisal of relevant symptoms is likely to reduce misdiagnosis. Likewise, their standardized coverage is likely to reduce missed diagnoses. Before examining the components of structured interviews in detail, I address common misassumptions about structured interviews.


Either/Or Fallacy

I occasionally encounter resistance to structured interviewing, especially from more seasoned clinicians. When voiced, their objections are frequently encapsulated in the question, “What is wrong with traditional interviews?” This question is likely based on a faulty premise in forcing an unnecessary choice between structured and unstructured interviews. I refer to this premise as the “either/or” fallacy. The question is best reframed as “Under what circumstances will diagnostic and structured interviewing assist me in meeting my . . .

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