The mental status examination

Am Fam Physician. 1977 Nov;16(5):145-52.


The mental status examination evaluates appearance and behavior, attitude, perception, orientation, judgment, cognition, abstraction and insight. It can be administered quickly and repetitively. This examination provides information to distinguish organic from "functional" illnesses and also provides objective data regarding the patient's improving or deteriorating sensorium. It helps substantiate clinical decisions on competance, potential for danger and hospitalization.

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Status Schedule*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / diagnosis
  • Neurotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis