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The reliability of the community version of the MRC Needs for Care Assessment

  • A. D. Lesage (a1), L. Fournier (a1), M. Cyr (a1), J. Toupin (a1), J. Fabian (a1), G. Gaudette (a1), C. Vanier (a1), P. E. Bebbington (a1) and C. R. Brewin (a1)...


One hundred and nine adults were screened in the community using the abridged version of the CIDI (CIDIS). The subjects comprised DSM-III-R current cases (N = 48), lifetime cases (N = 31) and non-cases (N = 30). The interviews with the 109 subjects were conducted by one of two pairs of clinicians and videotaped. Each interviewer–pair included a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist. They rated the community version of the Needs for Care (NFCAS-C) by consensus. The other pair of judges then viewed the video and rated the NFCAS-C independently. The agreement on overall needs was excellent (kappa = 0·75), and very good for four of the seven specific sections (from kappa = 0·61 to 0·81). One section could not be rated because of low prevalence, and agreement was less good for the remaining two sections. Agreement was good on specific interventions (medication, kappa = 0·60; specific psychotherapy, kappa = 0·55), but poor on non-specific interventions. The majority of disagreements were due to differences in clinical judgement rather than to technical errors. A new instruction manual has been produced and should help training as well as stabilizing reliability. In devising reliable and valid instruments based on clinical judgement, a balance must be achieved between enhancing reliability with more precise rules and constraining clinical judgement so tightly that validity is lost.


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr Alain D. Lesage, Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin, Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, 7331 Hochelaga, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H1N 3V2.


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The reliability of the community version of the MRC Needs for Care Assessment

  • A. D. Lesage (a1), L. Fournier (a1), M. Cyr (a1), J. Toupin (a1), J. Fabian (a1), G. Gaudette (a1), C. Vanier (a1), P. E. Bebbington (a1) and C. R. Brewin (a1)...


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