Reliability and stability of a semistructured DSM-IV interview designed for family studies

Richard D. Todd, Cynthia A. Joyner, Andrew C. Heath, Rosalind J. Neuman, Wendy Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the interrater reliability and stability of diagnoses, and to compare the results of in-person versus telephone administration of the Missouri Assessment of Genetics Interview for Children (the MAGIC), a new, semistructured, glossary-based diagnostic interview for children and adolescents. Method: The interview was developed for a large-scale epidemiological family genetics study. For reliability measures, parent report on offspring, child self-report, and adolescent self-report interviews were independently scored by two different raters on a population-based sample of respondents. The stability of diagnoses was assessed by comparing repeat interviews of parents, children, and adolescents, separated on average by 13 months. Frequencies of parent and adolescent report of disorders were determined for telephone and in-person interviews. Results: High interrater reliabilities were achieved for individual DSM-IV symptoms and diagnoses and for individual characteristics of diagnostic domains, including number, clustering, duration, and impairment of symptoms. The stability of diagnoses was also high for parents and adolescents. No significant differences in the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and major depressive disorder were found for interviews administered in person or by telephone. Conclusions: The MAGIC demonstrates high interrater reliability and stability for DSM-IV symptoms and diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1460-1468
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • DSM-IV diagnostic interview
  • Epidemiology
  • Family studies


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