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Ethn Health. 2015;20(1):1-28. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2013.857762. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Does the Cultural Formulation Interview for the fifth revision of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) affect medical communication? A qualitative exploratory study from the New York site.

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a Department of Psychiatry , Columbia University , New York , NY , USA.



Cross-cultural mental health researchers often analyze patient explanatory models of illness to optimize service provision. The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) is a cross-cultural assessment tool released in May 2013 with DSM-5 to revise shortcomings from the DSM-IV Outline for Cultural Formulation (OCF). The CFI field trial took place in 6 countries, 14 sites, and with 321 patients to explore its feasibility, acceptability, and clinical utility with patients and clinicians. We sought to analyze if and how CFI feasibility, acceptability, and clinical utility were related to patient-clinician communication.


We report data from the New York site which enrolled 7 clinicians and 32 patients in 32 patient-clinician dyads. We undertook a data analysis independent of the parent field trial by conducting content analyses of debriefing interviews with all participants (n = 64) based on codebooks derived from frameworks for medical communication and implementation outcomes. Three coders created codebooks, coded independently, established inter-rater coding reliability, and analyzed if the CFI affects medical communication with respect to feasibility, acceptability, and clinical utility.


Despite racial, ethnical, cultural, and professional differences within our group of patients and clinicians, we found that promoting satisfaction through the interview, eliciting data, eliciting the patient's perspective, and perceiving data at multiple levels were common codes that explained how the CFI affected medical communication. We also found that all but two codes fell under the implementation outcome of clinical utility, two fell under acceptability, and none fell under feasibility.


Our study offers new directions for research on how a cultural interview affects patient-clinician communication. Future research can analyze how the CFI and other cultural interviews impact medical communication in clinical settings with subsequent effects on outcomes such as medication adherence, appointment retention, and health condition.


Hispanic; Latino; cultural formulation; cultural psychiatry; ethnicity and health; psychiatric anthropology

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