History Taking, Clinical Interviewing, and the Mental Status Examination in Child Assessment

Mauricio A. Garcia-Barrera and William R. Moore

in The Oxford Handbook of Child Psychological Assessment

Published in print April 2013 | ISBN: 9780199796304
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199983292 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

History Taking, Clinical Interviewing, and the Mental Status Examination in Child Assessment

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Best assessment practices incorporate a multi-step and multi-method approach, as well as sensitivity to the client's cultural background, including their race, language, beliefs, and practices. In this context and emphasizing pediatric assessment, this chapter presents a review of some of the earlier steps in a psychological assessment process, including referral review and intake, review of records, history taking, clinical interviews, and mental status examination. Emphasis is placed on the relevance of the clinical assessment interview to the establishment of rapport and to gather information about the current functioning of the child. Information is significantly richer and more reliable if several sources are included; thus, background questionnaires, review of medical and academic records, interviews with teachers and others involved in the child's life, are recommended. Common methods of clinical interviewing are discussed, including unstructured, semi-structured, and structured formats. Finally, this chapter includes a review of the components of the child Mental Status Examination.

Keywords: clinical interview; history taking; semi-structured interview; structured interview; background questionnaire; mental status examination; rapport

Article.  13710 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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