Psychological Medicine

Research Article

The Interview for Recent Life Events

a1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge


Background. This paper summarizes work with the Interview for Recent Life Events (IRLE), an instrument that has been used extensively but not previously reported in detail.

Methods. Rationale, development, organization, content, reliability, validity and applications are reviewed in full.

Results. The instrument covers a comprehensive range of recent life events, their timing and other important qualities. It has been found reliable and valid, and has been translated into a number of languages. It has been used by many research groups in different countries, in studies of psychiatric patients, medical patients and subjects in the general population.

Conclusions. The instrument is useful, has been widely applied and has the necessary qualities for ascertainment of life events in research studies.


Address for correspondence: Professor E. S. Paykel, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital (Box 189), Cambridge CB2 2QQ.