BACKGROUND : The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) includes a set of 16 questions
formulated for clinicians to obtain information about cultural influences on an individual’s
clinical presentation during a mental health assessment. The CFI is a newly formulated
interview that has been evaluated in various localities, but not in South Africa.
AIM : We assessed the awareness and attitudes of South African psychiatrists and psychiatrists
in training towards the CFI and its use in their patient care.
SETTING : Participants were recruited via the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP)
database and were invited to complete an online questionnaire.
METHODS : Certain demographic aspects of psychiatrists and psychiatrists in training were
compared with regard to their awareness of and attitudes towards the CFI.
RESULTS : Of the 75 participants who completed the questionnaire, only 46.7% (n = 35) were
aware of the CFI, and of these, only 5.3% (n = 4) used the CFI. There was generally a positive
attitude towards the CFI with the majority of the participants agreeing that the CFI is easy to
understand and relevant in clinical practice; however, none of the results showed statistical
significance. Most participants who were aware of the CFI (89%, n = 31) were of the opinion
that the CFI would prolong their patient assessment time.
CONCLUSION : Most participants had a positive attitude towards the CFI. The negative response
regarding the CFI prolonging patient assessment time could be a potential barrier in its clinical
application. This study is an essential first step for further research into the CFI and its use in
SA and contributed towards improving awareness of the CFI.