The Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation. A comprehensive method for assessing outcome in prospective longitudinal studies

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987 Jun;44(6):540-8. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800180050009.


The Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation (LIFE) is an integrated system for assessing the longitudinal course of psychiatric disorders. It consists of a semistructured interview, an Instruction booklet, a coding sheet, and a set of training materials. An interviewer uses the LIFE to collect detailed psychosocial, psychopathologic, and treatment information for a six-month follow-up interval. The weekly psychopathology measures ("psychiatric status ratings") are ordinal symptom-based scales with categories defined to match the levels of symptoms used in the Research Diagnostic Criteria. The ratings provide a separate, concurrent record of the course of each disorder initially diagnosed in patients or developing during the follow-up. Any DSM-III or Research Diagnostic Criteria disorder can be rated with the LIFE, and any length or number of follow-up intervals can be accommodated. The psychosocial and treatment information is recorded so that these data can be linked temporally to the psychiatric status ratings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies*
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Social Adjustment


  • Psychotropic Drugs