NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Family history of mental illness is a risk for many disorders. Brief screens such as the Family History Screen (FHS) to collect lifetime family psychiatric history are useful in clinical practice. However, their validity compared to other methods has not been fully established. Weissman and colleagues assessed the performance of the FHS in relation to the best estimate (BE) diagnosis as a standard. They analyzed data on the validity against the BE diagnosis based on independent and blind direct interviews on 289 probands and 305 relatives and established test-retest reliability across 15 months in 417 subjects. The FHS showed promise as a brief screen for collecting lifetime psychiatric history on an informant and/or first-degree relatives. It appears most valid for screening for major depression, anxiety disorders, substance dependence (alcohol and drug dependence), and suicide attempts. It is not a substitute for more...

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