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Mental Status Examination

  1. Eliezer Schwartz

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0541

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Schwartz, E. 2010. Mental Status Examination. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Argosy University, Chicago

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The Mental Status Examination (MSE) is a structured method of observations and inquiry that guides examiners in collecting observable behaviors and manifestations of emotions and cognitions and categorizing them for diagnostic purposes. The MSE does not need to be a standardized test. Its validity and reliability are not based on psychometric properties, but on its simplicity and its consistent sequential inquiry (Rogers, 2001). This method of investigation is relatively independent from the verbal content of an interview, and it is uniquely tuned to the identification of specific behavioral manifestations that are diagnostically and prognostically significant. The MSE can be part of a formal clinical interview or part of any type of interaction with a patient. The MSE method allows the examiner to observe and identify selected targeted behaviors that are specific objectives for intervention.