Does the composite international diagnostic interview underdiagnose the eating disorders?

Christopher Thornton*, Janice Russell, Jennifer Hudson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: A study was undertaken to assess the procedural validity of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) for the diagnosis of eating disorders. Method: The CIDI was administered to 44 patients consecutively admitted to an eating disorders unit. CIDI-generated diagnoses were compared with clinical diagnoses documented in patient files. Discrepancies between diagnoses were examined in detail. Results: A significant level of disagreement was apparent, particularly for anorexia nervosa patients. A large number of patients with symptoms requiring inpatient treatment did not reach criteria using CIDI's diagnostic algorithm. Conclusion: Considerable difficulties remain in the use of standardized assessments, such as the CIDI, to diagnose eating disorders. While presenting features of the illness, for example, ego syntonic nature of the illness, secrecy, and denial, may be part of the reason, the questions used by the CIDI appear to be in need of some refinement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)341-345
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


    • Diagnosis
    • Eating disorders
    • Structured assessment


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