NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV (NIMH DISC-IV): description, differences from previous versions, and reliability of some common diagnoses

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2000 Jan;39(1):28-38. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200001000-00014.


Objective: To describe the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV (NIMH DISC-IV) and how it differs from earlier versions of the interview. The NIMH DISC-IV is a highly structured diagnostic interview, designed to assess more than 30 psychiatric disorders occurring in children and adolescents, and can be administered by "lay" interviewers after a minimal training period. The interview is available in both English and Spanish versions.

Method: An editorial board was established in 1992 to guide DISC development and ensure that a standard version of the instrument is maintained. Preliminary reliability and acceptability results of the NIMH DISC-IV in a clinical sample of 84 parents and 82 children (aged 9-17 years) drawn from outpatient child and adolescent psychiatric clinics at 3 sites are presented. Results of the previous version in a community sample are reviewed.

Results: Despite its greater length and complexity, the NIMH DISC-IV compares favorably with earlier versions. Alternative versions of the interview are in development (the Present State DISC, the Teacher DISC, the Quick DISC, the Voice DISC).

Conclusions: The NIMH DISC is an acceptable, inexpensive, and convenient instrument for ascertaining a comprehensive range of child and adolescent diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry / education
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological*
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States