Mental Status Examination

Chapter

Abstract

The mental status examination (MSE) is an interview screening evaluation of all the important areas of a patient’s current emotional and cognitive functioning, often augmented with some simple cognitive tests. The MSE provides the data for formulating a psychiatric diagnosis or developing a working hypothesis regarding psychiatric diagnosis. The MSE is to psychiatric diagnosis what the physical examination is to medical diagnosis (Scheiber, 2004; Robinson, 2001). The MSE also can be used as a basis for developing diagnosis of neurobehavioral disorders because of neurological damage, but this chapter will focus on the psychiatric application of the MSE. Interested readers are referred to Strub and Black’s (2000) seminal work on use of the MSE for a neurologically oriented diagnosis.

The MSE is based on observations of the patient’s nonverbal and verbal behavior and includes the patient’s descriptions of her subjective experiences. Evaluation of a person’s emotional and cognitive state by means of interview observations can be subjective. Subjective impressions can lead to an unreliable diagnosis. The purpose of the MSE is to provide a framework for the comprehensive evaluation of mental functioning that increases objectivity and reliability of the data and subsequent diagnosis. There is a high degree of similarity between various MSE formats presented in the literature, suggesting there is a relatively good consensus about what comprises a standard MSE. It is thus important to develop a standardized approach for conducting an MSE that includes assessment of the domains described below. A standardized approach increases reliability of the MSE - that is, the likelihood that the patient would be diagnosed the same way by another professional using an MSE (Daniel & Crider, 2003; Scheiber, 2004). A standardized approach facilitates communication about the patient and makes it easier to identify changes in the patient. It aids in assessing the severity of the patient’s problems by establishing a standard of comparison across patients (Schogt & Rewilak, 2007).

Keywords

Toxicity Depression Dementia Income Nicotine 

References

  1. Akiskal, H. S., & Akiskal, K. (1994). Mental status examination: The art and science of the clinical interview. In M. Hersen & S. Turner (Eds.), Diagnostic interviewing (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  2. Amchin, J. (1991). Psychiatric diagnosis: A biopsychosocial approach using DSM-III-R. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. Carlat, D. (2005). Mental status examination. In D. Carlat (Ed.), The psychiatric interview: A practice guide (pp. 122–142). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  5. Carlson, N. (2007). Physiology of behavior (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Cummings, J., & Mega, M. (2003). Neuropsychiatry and behavior neuroscience. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Daniel, M., & Crider, C. (2003). Mental status evaluation. In D.J. Carlat (Ed.), The psychiatric interview: a practical guide (pp. 122–142). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  8. Daniel, M., & Carothers, T. (2007). Mental status examination. In M. Hersen & J. Thomas (Eds.), Handbook of clinical interview with adults (pp. 46–63). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Morrison, J. (2008). The first interview. New York, NY: Guildford.Google Scholar
  10. Palmer, L., Fiorito, M., & Tagliareni, L. (2007). Mental status examination: A comprehensive multicultural, developmental approach. In M. Hersen & J. Thomas (Eds.), Handbook of clinical interviewing with children (pp. 62–76). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Robinson, D. (2001). Brain calipers: Descriptive psychopathology and the psychiatric mental status examination (2nd ed.). Port Huron, MI: Rapid Psychler Press.Google Scholar
  12. Scheiber, C. (2004). The psychiatric interview, psychiatric history, and mental status examination. In R. Hales & S. Yudofsky (Eds.), Essential of clinical psychiatry (2nd ed., pp. 33–65). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Schogt, B., & Rewilak, D. (2007). The mental status examination. In D. Conn, N. Herrmann, A. Kaye, D. Rewilak & B. Schogt (Eds.), Practical psychiatry in the long-term care home: A handbook for staff (pp. 17–35). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Shader, R. (2003). The mental status examination. In R. I. Shader (Ed.), Manual of psychiatric therapeutics (pp. 9–16). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  15. Strub, R. L., & Black, F. W. (2000). The mental status examination in neurology (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.Google Scholar
  16. Trzepacz, P. T., & Baker, R. W. (1993). The psychiatric mental status examination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Wechsler, D. (1997). Wechsler Memory Scale III: Administration and scoring manual. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Professional Psychology, Pacific UniversityPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations