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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1999 Dec;27(6):413-5.

Subject and interview characteristics affecting reliability of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children.

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National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Despite the well-known difficulties in obtaining reliable and valid assessments of child psychopathology, investigators generally have not examined the influence of factors such as subject characteristics or the specific assessment procedures themselves on the validity of the information obtained. To address these issues, this special section presents four studies of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, in which investigators examined the impact of a range of variables on the reliability of its symptom and diagnostic information. Factors studied include interview structural characteristics; question length, complexity, and placement within the interview; and interview subject characteristics. Overall findings suggest that interview and subject characteristics exert important influences on the data obtained, and that novel approaches, such as allowing subjects a greater role in the ordering of questions to be answered, may improve the precision and accuracy of such measures of children's psychopathology.

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