We examined the reliability and clinical utility of a structured mental status interview schedule, the eighth edition of the Present State Examination. Using this schedule, we interviewed a consecutive series of patients with functional psychiatric disorders shortly following admission. We modified the scoring methods to provide a concise yet meaningful profile of psychopathological disorders.
We confirmed its high interrater reliability using video tapes of approximately every tenth interview and demonstrated that it is a practical technique for the examination of patients with functional disorders by showing that a high quality interview was obtainable.
Finally, we showed that it is a powerful diagnostic tool, and with our scoring modifications provides a valid, clinically meaningful profile of psychopathological features of the major functional disorders: schizophrenia, affective psychoses, and neurotic personality disorders.