Data are reported on a series of short-form (SF) screening scales of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders developed from the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). A multi-step procedure was used to generate CIDI-SF screening scales for each of eight DSM disorders from the US National Comorbidity Survey (NCS). This procedure began with the subsample of respondents who endorsed the CIDI diagnostic stem question for a given disorder and then used a series of stepwise regression analyses to select a subset of screening questions to maximize reproduction of the full CIDI diagnosis. A small number of screening questions, between three and eight for each disorder, was found to account for the significant associations between symptom ratings and CIDI diagnoses. Summary scales made up of these symptom questions correctly classify between 77% and 100% of CIDI cases and between 94% and 99% of CIDI non-cases in the NCS depending on the diagnosis. Overall classification accuracy ranged from a low of 93% for major depressive episode to a high of over 99% for generalized anxiety disorder. Pilot testing in a nationally representative telephone survey found that the full set of CIDI-SF scales can be administered in an average of seven minutes compared to over an hour for the full CIDI. The results are quite encouraging in suggesting that diagnostic classifications made in the full CIDI can be reproduced with excellent accuracy with the CIDI-SF scales. Independent verification of this reproduction accuracy, however, is needed in a data set other than the one in which the CIDI-SF was developed. Copyright © 1998 Whurr Publishers Ltd.