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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1988 Feb;176(2):63-71.

Interobserver reliability of a "Standardized Psychiatric Examination" (SPE) for case ascertainment (DSM-III).

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.


The authors describe the Standardized Psychiatric Examination (SPE), a new method for conducting psychiatric examinations in both clinical and research settings that preserves the clinical method. The SPE provides a consistent replicable format for eliciting and recording psychiatric history, signs, and symptoms without perturbing the patient-clinician interaction. By means of the SPE, the clinician can formulate diagnoses using DSM-III or ICD-9 criteria and yet generate CATEGO profiles derived from the Present State Examination, 9th edition. Psychiatrists using the SPE demonstrated high interrater reliability in ascertaining individual psychopathological symptoms (Kappa range, 0.55 to 1.0) and in making DSM-III diagnoses (Kappa range, 0.79 to 1.0) among a sample of study subjects (N = 43) drawn from both a psychiatric inpatient population and a large community sample of nonpatients from the Epidemiological Catchment Area (ECA) study. The implications of the SPE for clinical practice and for research are discussed.

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