CARS is an assessment and personalized report system adapted from a pre-existing standardized mental health assessment — the Composite International Diagnostic Instrument (CIDI) for DSM-IV. The World Health Organization originally developed the CIDI in 1990; it was later revised and expanded as the WMH-CIDI through the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. We chose to adapt CARS from the WMH-CIDI because it is well tested and has robust psychometric properties (Kessler et al., 2004; Kessler et al., 1998; Haro et al., 2012). The WMH-CIDI is employed worldwide and can be administered by laypeople. It is one of the most comprehensive and thorough instruments currently available for use in diagnosis of substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders. CARS preserves the CIDI question content used to assess pscyhiatric disorders identified by DSM-IV.
We received input from Dr. Ron Kessler (the developer of the WMH-CIDI) and his team as we adapted CARS from the WMH-CIDI. This adaptation provides CARS with extensive flexibility in diagnostic capabilities. CARS, like the CIDI, permits users to select which modules clients can receive (i.e., the assessment can include anywhere from 1 to 13 modules, depending on needs and time constraints), allowing it to be used in a variety of treatment settings.