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The evaluation of training in patient-centred interviewing skills for psychiatric residents

  • M. Rimondini (a1), L. Del Piccolo (a1), C. Goss (a1), M. Mazzi (a1), M. Paccaloni (a1) and C. Zimmermann (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 23 July 2009

Communication skills are considered ‘core skills’ in the curriculum of psychiatry but studies evaluating the effectiveness of a time-limited training course in interviewing skills in psychiatry have remained rare. The aim was to assess the effectiveness of training in patient-centred interviewing on the interview performance of psychiatric residents.


Psychiatric residents (n=10) each interviewed 12 different anonymized standardized patients (SPs), eight before and another four after training. SPs simulated psychiatric out-patients who attended for a first visit to the psychiatric out-patient clinic. The consultations were videotaped, transcribed and coded with a classification scheme developed for psychiatric consultations from which an interview performance index was derived. An interrupted time-series design and a segmented regression analysis with multilevel analysis explored the performance trend within the series of consultations.


The regression model evidenced a horizontal slope at pre- and post-training, with a significant level change. These findings excluded the presence of a practice effect and indicated a significant effect of training. Performance variability between and within residents over the series of consultations increased at post-training.


The training improved patient-centred interviewing performance. More post-training exercise time and supervised practice are necessary to establish consistent performance patterns at a higher skill level.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: M. Rimondini, Ph.D., Dipartimento di Medicina e Sanità Pubblica, Università di Verona, Policlinico G.B. Rossi, Piazzale L.A. Scuro 10, 37134Verona, Italy. (Email:
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