M U L T I L I N G U A L   C O M P U T E R - A S S I S T E D   S E L F - I N T E R V I E W


MultiCASI is a computer-based diagnostic tool that allows standardized questionnaires to be undertaken in many languages as well as for illiterate persons. Clinical standard diagnostics with foreign-language speakers and particularly illiterate persons is methodically difficult, time consuming and often involves high costs. Standardized questionnaire-based diagnostics for illiterate persons were previously only possible with interpreters who read the questionnaires aloud and filled in the answers. However, when patients were asked about their answers it was often found that standardized questions were not repeated word for word but paraphrased by interpreters. The validity of such ad hoc translations is difficult to measure. At the same time, the subject matter of the questions asked is often sensitive and the answers may be distorted in a patient’s desire to appear socially acceptable. In order to meet these demanding challenges, a diagnostic tool has been developed in close cooperation with computer scientists, that enables also illiterate persons to answer questionnaires independently. The program allows for the input of a diverse range of languages and language characters. All items are acoustically recorded by native speakers and accessed via a touch-screen. Finally, all data are exported automatically to a data processing system (eg. SPSS). MultiCASI is already in use and has so far been found acceptable and quick to understand by a number of patients.

Knaevelsrud, C. & Müller, J. (2008). MultiCASI (Multilingual Computer Assisted Self Interview). CD-ROM, CDSP: ISBN: 978-3-540-71780-5. Berlin: Springer.


In the framework of a validation study, the comparability of a paper-and-pencil or interview-based diagnostic and MultiCASI was investigated. Additionally, the user-friendliness of the diagnostical instrument was evaluted. The results show there are no significant differences between MultiCASI and conventional questionnaires relating to the psychopathology reports and the number of traumatized events recorded. However, questionnaires with MultiCASI were found to take much less time. A large number of patients indicated that using MultiCASI to answer questions was a positive experience.

Cooperation Partner

Outpatient Clinic for Victims of War and Torture, Zurich

Contact Person

Dr. Maria Böttcher

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