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What Is the Difference Between SCID and MINI?

The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-V (SCID or SCID-5) and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) are diagnostic tools commonly used to screen for and identify a wide range of mental health disorders. Both the SCID-5 and M.I.N.I. employ a systematic and standardized approach intended to enhance the accuracy and reliability of such diagnoses based on criteria outlined in the DSM-V.

While they are similar in these ways, they have key differences clinical researchers should know about. These include the following:

  • The “rigidity” of each tool’s structure

  • Who can administer/conduct the interview

  • Complexity

  • Duration

  • Age ranges of the interviewee

Let’s explore these differences by looking closer into the two instruments.

What is the purpose of a structured clinical interview?

Clinical interviews should be structured and standardized in a manner designed to gather and analyze data across different populations and settings. In addition, clinical interviews should mitigate risks posed by unconscious cognitive biases, cultural differences, setting-specific disparities, regional variations and other non-medical factors that can improperly influence a diagnosis.

While both the SCID-5 and M.I.N.I. are “structured,” the SCID-5 is not nearly as rigid as the M.I.N.I. The SCID-5, which must be administered by clinically trained professionals, exists as a “semi-structured interview guide,” allowing the interviewer to insert unscripted or follow-up SCID-5 screening questions. The M.I.N.I., on the other hand, is almost entirely scripted as it was “designed for rapid administration and intended to be overinclusive.”

How long does the SCID-5 take to administer?

The answer to this question depends on which version of the SCID-5 you’re using. Three different versions of the SCID-5 exist for diagnosing major conditions outlined in the DSM-V, and an additional two versions are intended for diagnosing personality disorders. The “core version” (SCID-5-RV Core Version) usually takes between 45 and 120 minutes to conduct. Other versions take anywhere from 30 to 180 minutes.

The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview questionnaire, by way of contrast, only takes approximately 15 minutes to administer.

What Is the SCID-5 scale? Is the SCID-5 reliable?

The SCID-5 is available in different versions, with each designed to meet different types of need:

  • SCID-5-RV: research
  • SCID-5-CV: clinician
  • SCID-5-CT: clinical trials
  • SCID-5-PD: personality disorders
  • SCID-5-AMPD: alternative model for personality disorders
  • QuickSCID-5: briefer version of the SCID

In terms of the SCID-5's reliability and validity, as the American Psychiatric Association noted, “There is no reliability or validity data available for the SCID-5, other than the validation of the NetSCID-5 products.” NetSCID-5 is the online version of the SCID-5. There has been reliability research conducted on different versions of the SCID-5, such as this 2019 study on the SCID-5-CV (clinician version).

What about Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview reliability?

The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview has been validated a number of times using a variety of methods. It is widely used and accepted as a tool for clinical assessment. In fact, researchers state in BMC Family Practice that “the M.I.N.I. was well accepted by patients, general practitioners and therapists.”

Are the SCID-5 and MINI appropriate for all age groups?

With some modification to SCID-5 screening questions, the SCID-5 may be appropriate for under-18 age groups. An FAQ published by the American Psychiatric Association states, “Although the vast majority of SCID studies have been administered to adults, some investigators have successfully administered the SCID to adolescents. A SCID-5 version specifically tailored for children and adolescents is currently under development.”

The good news is there’s no need to wait for a SCID-5 version for children and adolescents. A version of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview questionnaire for these age groups already exists. Known as the M.I.N.I-KID, this version has already been validated and is widely used across various settings.

What other differences exist between the two tools?

While both the SCID-5 and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview questionnaire have been validated and are widely used, the M.I.N.I. offers several distinct advantages for clinical research, where time is of the essence.

The M.I.N.I. takes much less time to administer (15 minutes vs. up to 180 minutes for the SCID-5), can be administered non-clinicians if properly trained, and is generally easier to use in settings that require screening large numbers of people (e.g., in clinical trials). This has also been validated by studies, one of which reported, “[T]here appears to be a reasonable trade-off between brevity and accuracy through the use of the M.I.N.I. compared to the SCID.”

Why is the MINI so much faster and easier to use?

While using a paper version of the M.I.N.I. is perfectly acceptable, one of the M.I.N.I.’s many strengths is that it’s also available digitally through a license exclusively available through Proem Behavioral Health.

This means that researchers can obtain the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview PDF and print it out for use instead of having to purchase several paper copies. Similarly, researchers can use the M.I.N.I.-KID questionnaire PDF for easier distribution to pediatric patients.

Furthermore, it means that researchers can administer the M.I.N.I. entirely online in digital format. Administering the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview online broadens researchers’ reach, allowing them to assess subjects who may not live physically close to them or who can’t make it to an in-person interview.

The digital version of the M.I.N.I. can be completed by subjects on their computer, either on their own or while supervised via a video call. Allowing research subjects to complete the M.I.N.I. on their own time saves time and effort for researchers and subjects alike, and it can improve compliance among subjects. Additionally, some subjects may feel more comfortable and be more truthful when answering questions independently.

The digital M.I.N.I. also allows for more efficient data collection. Answers are stored digitally, and data is automatically aggregated, which makes for more efficient reporting. Scoring is automatic as well, which speeds up the screening process and lessens the chance of scoring errors.

Obtaining the licensed digital version of the MINI

Proem is the only provider that holds a license for the digital version of the M.I.N.I., and the company has made it easy for clinical researchers to access the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview online.

Proem is no stranger to digital psychiatric assessment and screeners, offering dozens of psychiatric assessments online. Their efficient tools and proprietary algorithms simplify the process of testing for the presence of psychiatric conditions, so researchers can, in turn, simplify research workflows.

Using the licensed digital version of the M.I.N.I. will help you save time, improve efficiency, better collect data and mitigate errors in research projects. In addition, you will improve your ability to reach more subjects while also strengthening data quality and reducing the time it takes to collect.

Find out more about how Proem’s exclusive digital license of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview can enhance your research. Get access to the tool and schedule a 1:1 meeting today.

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