Interviewing Children and Adolescents: Skills and Strategies for Effective DSM-IV Diagnosis

Interviewing Children and Adolescents: Skills and Strategies for Effective DSM-IV Diagnosis

Interviewing Children and Adolescents: Skills and Strategies for Effective DSM-IV Diagnosis

Interviewing Children and Adolescents: Skills and Strategies for Effective DSM-IV Diagnosis

Synopsis

Morrison, the author of the bestselling "DSM-IV Made Easy, " now provides clinicians with a complete guide to conducting an age-appropriate child or adolescent interview and formulating a clinically useful DSM-IV diagnosis. Illuminating both the art and the science of child diagnosis, the book blends astute advice on the interview process with crucial information on a wide range of mental and behavioral disorders.

Excerpt

To be sure, every part of the workup of a child or adolescent with mental or emotional problems is important. But if we had to assign some order of importance to the various steps in the process, obtaining reliable information from multiple informants would appear at the top of our list. With a young person, each observer may have a different viewpoint. Even a mother and father may differ in their description of how disruptive a problem may be. Certainly teachers and parents often differ in their view. Without multiple viewpoints from those who know your patient well, at best you will have a difficult time arriving at a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment; at worst you might never get there.

A number of studies can guide us as we set about interviewing informants. For much of this discussion, we rely upon work that was done in Great Britain by Cox and colleagues. In a series of articles published in the early 1980s, these authors determined which interview techniques were most likely to succeed in obtaining different sorts of historical information. Their findings (see Appendix 1 for a reference) apply equally well to all types of informants—young patients themselves (especially older children and adolescents), parents, relatives and others.

TWO STYLES OF INTERVIEWING

Two fundamental styles of interviewing have been described: directive and nondirective. As a rule, young children usually respond better to more directed, structured, simple questions. Children who are preadolescent or youn-

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