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Developed jointly by psychiatrists and clinicians in the United States and Europe, the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) is a structured diagnostic interview designed to assess a wide range of psychiatric disorders using criteria set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10)

Read Now: A Detailed Guide to the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview

What does the MINI assess for?

The disorders the M.I.N.I. assesses include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, substance use disorders and eating disorders. Development of the M.I.N.I. arose out of a need for a short but accurate structured psychiatric interview suitable for various settings, including initial assessments and screenings, epidemiological studies and multicenter clinical trials. The M.I.N.I. takes approximately 15 minutes to administer, with results delivered in minutes if administered manually or within seconds if administered electronically.  

For multiple reasons, the M.I.N.I. is particularly valuable for clinical researchers. Considering its short time to administer and deliver results, the M.I.N.I. can drastically reduce the time needed to recruit, assess and accurately identify participants eligible for a particular study. More importantly, the interview’s structured format and standardized questions have proven useful in gathering and analyzing data across different populations and settings — a powerful mitigation against risks posed by unconscious cognitive biases, cultural differences, setting-specific disparities, regional variations and other non-medical factors that can improperly influence study outcomes. 

What does the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview measure?

Unlike easily measured factors such as height, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure levels or pulse rate, criteria used to diagnose mental health conditions are notoriously difficult to quantify in an objective and consistent manner. After all, determining what’s happening in someone’s brain isn’t as simple as peering into an otoscope.  

Although the M.I.N.I. relies on answers from the patient’s own subjective experience, it’s structured in a way to assist the interviewer in quickly ruling out specific disorders while avoiding time wasted on “going down a rabbit hole” by asking unnecessary questions. 

The M.I.N.I. is divided into modules corresponding to diagnostic criteria specific to each disorder. Modules consist of a series of standardized, numbered “yes/no” questions and sub-questions designed to gather information about the patient’s behavior, emotions and experiences over a specific period. Each module contains a “diagnostic box” consisting of the name of the particular disorder, along with the words “yes” and “no.” Some diagnostic boxes also contain gradations (e.g., mild/moderate/severe, current/early remission/in remission). The interviewer asks the questions in the order in which they appear, marking the appropriate “yes” or “no” response based on the patient’s answer.  

Some “no” answers are accompanied by arrows. These instruct the interviewer to go to the diagnostic box, mark “no,” then move on to the next module. At this point, that particular disorder has been ruled out.  

Keep in mind that the M.I.N.I. is intended only as a preliminary screening tool, not as a substitute for a full psychological evaluation.

What age is the MINI Interview for?

Regardless of format, use of the standard Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (PDF, online or paper version) is intended to assess the 17 most common mental health disorders for patients aged 18 and older. 

Read Now: A Detailed Guide to the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview

What is the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for children?

The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for children (“M.I.N.I.-KID” interview) assesses 24 of the most common and clinically relevant mental health conditions found in children and adolescents. The format and administration of the M.I.N.I.-KID interview are functionally the same as the standard M.I.N.I. 

Has the efficacy of Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview as an assessment tool been successfully validated?

For clinical researchers considering incorporating the M.I.N.I. or any other assessment tool, asking whether the efficacy of the tool has been successfully validated is an important question. For the M.I.N.I., the answer is yes, it has been successfully validated multiple times, using multiple methods. The Mini International Neuropsychological Interview is widely used and accepted as a tool for clinical assessment. When tested during its initial development, researchers found that the M.I.N.I. was excellent on interrater measures and very good on retest measures, according to the 1998 paper from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry detailing its creation.  

In addition, translated versions of the M.I.N.I. have also been proven to have high validity. For an example, see this study from Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences that found strong reliability for the Japanese version of the M.I.N.I.

Is it possible to conduct the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview online?

Any use of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview requires a license. Proem Behavioral Health is the exclusive license holder of the digital, electronic or PDF versions of the M.I.N.I. and is authorized to sublicense that right to third parties. Proem maintains a concurrent right to license the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview in paper versions. For information on licensing through Proem, please contact Proem. 

Proem offers digital and PDF versions of the M.I.N.I. and M.I.N.I.-KID mental health screening and assessment tools to help increase the accuracy of study participant identification and decrease the time needed for patient recruitment. Ultimately, Proem’s digital solutions help organizations get neuropsychiatric drugs, therapies and devices to market faster, safer and more cost-effectively. 

Learn more about how Proem’s exclusive digital license for the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (PDF or online) can enhance your research. Schedule a 1:1 meeting today. 

A Detailed Guide to the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.)

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