Over the next few decades the older adult population will increase dramatically, and prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders are also expected to increase in the elderly cohort. These demographic projections highlight the need for diagnostic instruments and methods that are specifically tailored to older adults. The current paper discusses the benefits and drawbacks of clinical interviewing with older adults, using two popular interview protocols as illustrative examples. Drawing upon preexisting basic research and our own observations collected in clinical and research settings over a 10-year period, we suggest procedures and suggestions for augmenting existing interview protocols to increase their usefulness with older adults in research and clinical settings. Strategies to optimize interview duration and enhance retrospective data accuracy and the pros and cons of dimensional versus dichotomous response formats, among other relevant topics, are discussed. © 2011.
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