Psychiatric assessment instruments developed by the World Health Organization

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 1996 Mar;31(2):55-69. doi: 10.1007/BF00801901.


Over the past 30 years the World Health Organization (WHO) has produced a number of assessment instruments intended for national and cross-cultural psychiatric research. WHO instruments have been tested and used in many collaborative studies involving more than 100 centres in different parts of the world. This article reviews the main WHO instruments for the assessment of (a) psychopathology, (b) disability, quality of life and satisfaction, (c) services, and (d) environment, and risks to mental health. The principles used in the development of WHO instruments, their translation and their use across cultures and settings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • World Health Organization*