Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology

First Advisor

John Young


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Structured diagnostic interviews are generally considered to be the gold standard method of assessing mental health conditions; however clinicians rarely use such techniques in clinical practice. A major factor contributing to the infrequent use of structured interviews is the amount of time required for administration and interpretation. As such there is a need to develop assessment instruments that balance the objectivity and structure of evidence-based assessment techniques against personnel time and cost. To address this need the current study sought to validate a brief screening instrument for assessing 9 commental health conditions using a well-researched structured clinical interview to establish criterion diagnoses. Data were collected in the emergency department at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson Mississippi. Participants included 259 adult patients between the ages of 18 and 91 (M = 47.5). One hundred thirty-seven (52.9%) of the patients were women; 149 (57.5%) were African American 109 (42.1%) were White and 1(.4%) was Hispanic. Estimates for sensitivity specificity negative predictive value positive predictive value and kappa generally supported the validity of the screening instrument for assessing mental health conditions within the context of an emergency department. The screening instrument may thus represent a promising solution to conducting efficient and accurate mental health assessment in a variety of applied contexts.



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