Psychological Medicine

Original Article

A general population comparison of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) 1

T. S.  BRUGHA  c1 a1, R.  JENKINS  a1, N.  TAUB  a1, H.  MELTZER  a1 and P. E.  BEBBINGTON  a1
a1 From the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Leicester; and WHO Collaborating Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Social Survey Division, Office for National Statistics and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University College, London


Background. In psychiatric surveys of the general population, there has been considerable discrepancy between diagnoses obtained by fully structured interviews and those established by systematic semi-structured clinical evaluation. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) is an example of the first type of interview widely used in general population surveys. We compared its performance in diagnosing current depressive and anxiety disorders with the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN), a semi-structured diagnostic interview administered by clinically trained interviewers.

Methods. Household addresses in Leicestershire, UK, were randomly sampled and 860 adults were screened with the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule. Adults with too few symptoms to fulfil diagnostic criteria for study disorders were excluded to increase the proportion re-interviewed who met such criteria. Repeat diagnostic interviews with the CIDI and SCAN, ordered randomly, were sought from eligible screen positive respondents. Recalibrated CIDI prevalence estimates were derived from the SCAN classification using Bayesian statistics.

Results. Concordance ranged between ‘poor’ and ‘fair’ across almost all types of study disorders, and for co-morbidity. Concordance was somewhat better for severity of depression and when lower diagnostic thresholds were used for depression. Interview order effects were suggested with lower concordance when CIDI followed SCAN. Recalibration reduced the prevalence of depressive or anxiety disorder from 9·0 to 6·2%.

Conclusions. Community psychiatric surveys using structured diagnostic interview data must be interpreted cautiously. They should include an element of clinical re-appraisal so findings can be adjusted for estimation differences between fully structured and clinical assessments.

c1 Address for correspondence: Professor T. S. Brugha, University of Leicester, Department of Psychiatry, Section of Social and Epidemiological Psychiatry, Brandon Mental Health Unit, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE5 4PW.


1 Preliminary findings from this study were communicated at: the Association of European Psychiatrists, Cambridge, April 1996; the WPA Section of Epidemiology and Community Psychiatry, Sydney, Australia, 19 October 1997; and the International Association of Epidemiologists Congress (IEA99), Florence, Italy, September 1999.