A qualitative study of clinicians' use of the cultural formulation model in assessing posttraumatic stress disorder

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



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Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Ambulatory Care; *Cultural Competency; Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted; Diagnosis, Differential; *Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; Emigrants and Immigrants; Female; Humans; *Interview, Psychological; Male; Middle Aged; Software; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Young Adult


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The Cultural Formulation (CF) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) provides a potential framework for improving the diagnostic assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in culturally diverse patients. We analyzed data from the Patient-Provider Encounter Study, a multi-site study that examines the process of diagnosis and clinical decision-making during an initial clinical intake session, in order to examine use of CF for PTSD diagnosis. We find that while the CF is generally used inconsistently or underutilized in routine community settings, when employed appropriately it may assist the formulation and interpretation of traumatic experiences. We discuss the implications for improving the assessment of PTSD in the time-limited setting of the clinical intake encounter and across race/ethnicity.

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Citation: Transcult Psychiatry. 2009 Sep;46(3):429-50. Link to article on publisher's site

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