Principles of screening applied to psychiatric disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The morbidity and mortality caused by psychiatric illness is a significant public health problem. The use of a psychiatric screening questionnaire has been one strategy to improve the recognition and treatment of psychiatric disorders in general medical settings. This paper discusses how well psychiatric screening procedures fulfill criteria outlined by the World Health Organization for evaluating the utility of general medical screening efforts. Current research on the utility of screening for psychiatric disorders is reviewed, and the lack of data on the treatment of psychiatric disorders is identified in the general medical sector is emphasized. The randomized clinical trial is offered as the best method to test the efficacy of screening by eliminating various biases outlined in the paper. Quantitative concepts such as positive predictive value and receiver operator characteristic analysis are discussed. The need for more research on the efficacy of early treatment of psychiatric disorders is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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