The objective of the present study was to determine the reliability of the Brazilian version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 2.1 (CIDI 2.1) in clinical psychiatry. The CIDI 2.1 was translated into Portuguese using WHO guidelines and reliability was studied using the inter-rater reliability method. The study sample consisted of 186 subjects from psychiatric hospitals and clinics, primary care centers and community services. The interviewers consisted of a group of 13 lay and three non-lay interviewers submitted to the CIDI training. The average interview time was 2 h and 30 min. General reliability ranged from kappa 0.50 to 1. For lifetime diagnoses the reliability ranged from kappa 0.77 (Bipolar Affective Disorder) to 1 (Substance-Related Disorder, Alcohol-Related Disorder, Eating Disorders). Previous year reliability ranged from kappa 0.66 (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) to 1 (Dissociative Disorders, Maniac Disorders, Eating Disorders). The poorest reliability rate was found for Mild Depressive Episode (kappa = 0.50) during the previous year. Training proved to be a fundamental factor for maintaining good reliability. Technical knowledge of the questionnaire compensated for the lack of psychiatric knowledge of the lay personnel. Inter-rater reliability was good to excellent for persons in psychiatric practice
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