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Longitudinal Interval Follow Up Evaluation (LIFE)

The Longitudinal Interval Follow-Up Evaluation (LIFE) is a semi-structured clinical interview and third-party assessment procedure developed by the research group of Prof. Dr. Martin Keller at Brown University. The retrospective interview is used for course and change diagnosis of DSM-IV Axis I disorders. Due to the specific questioning and analysis methodology, it enables the dating and representation of the duration of disturbance episodes over long follow-up periods exact to the week. It thus provides information on remission, relapse, and the duration of symptom-free or subsyndromal phases. In addition to the central disturbance patterns, the LIFE takes into account psychosocial areas of functioning as well as the use of psychosocial and pharmacological therapies.

In scope and content, the LIFE can be adapted largely flexibly and economically to diagnoses of interest, questions, and research protocols . The LIFE has been used in numerous clinical and epidemiological studies worldwide and is considered the gold standard for monitoring the long-term course of mental illness.

The LIFE was translated into German at the FOST in cooperation with the Brown University and is freely usable for scientific purposes. At the FOST, the LIFE has been used in extensive evaluation studies, e.g., in the area of E-Mental Health. To support the implementation and evaluation of the LIFE interviews in the context of clinical studies, a VOIP-based recording technology was developed at FOST, which can be used location-independently via the Internet. The system meets high security standards and has proven to be stable and reliable in the SUMMIT study.

In addition, LIFE is currently being used in psychotherapy studies throughout Germany. The German version of the interview guide and further information on training and implementation are available at the FOST.



Wolf, M., Walker, C. & Kächele, H. (2005). LIFE – Longitudinal Interval follow-up Evaluation DSM-IV Version. In B. Strauß & J. Schumacher (Hrsg.), Klinische Interviews und Ratingskalen (S. 231-236). Göttingen: Hogrefe.


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