McGill Illness Narrative Interview (MINI)

The McGill Illness Narrative Interview is a semi-structured interview protocol for eliciting symptom experience, illness narratives, and help-seeking in health research. It aims to collect rich narrative material which can be used for qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Its distinctive features include an effort to allow the production of multiple narratives: i) a basic narrative account structured by contiguity, ii) a prototype narrative, centered on previous experiences with similar conditions, and an explanatory model narrative organized in terms of explicit knowledge of causes, mechanisms, or other cultural models of process. The MINI has been translated and used in cross-cultural research in many cultures and contexts, to explore diverse health issues and conditions including: breast feeding, depression, diabetes, medically unexplained symptoms, myocardial infarction, non-epileptic seizures, scleroderma, severe mental illness.

Groleau, D., Young, A., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2006). The McGill Illness Narrative Interview (MINI): an interview schedule to elicit meanings and modes of reasoning related to illness experience. Transcultural Psychiatry, 43(4), 671-691.


Original English version of the MINI


Translated Versions of the MINI

Albanian (Blerta Salihaj and the Kosovo Health Foundation)

Chinese Simplified (Harry Yi-Jui Wu)

Chinese Traditional (Harry Yi-Jui Wu)

French (Danielle Groleau)

PDF icon Japanese (Miwaki Yasuo and Nicolas Tajan)

Luganda (Modified to explore caregiver perceptions of patient's experience - Wilson Winstons Muhwezi)

Nepali (Ram Prasad Sapkota)

Norwegian (Hilde Thørnqvist)

Portuguese (Brazil) (Erotildes Maria Leal, Alicia Navarro de Souza and Octavio Domont Serpa Jr.)

Sami (Hilde Thørnqvist)

Spanish (Irene Hofmeijer, Consuelo Errazuriz and Fannie Martel)

Tibetan (Sienna Craig)


If you have new translations or publications related to the MINI please let us know so we can keep this resource page up-to-date.


Studies Using the MINI

Navarro de Souza, A., Groleau, D., Loiselle, C. G., Foulkes, W. D., & Wong, N. (2014). Cultural Aspects of Healthy BRCA Carriers From Two Ethnocultural Groups. Qualitative Health Research, 24(5):665-81.

Groleau, D., D’Souza, N. A., & Bélanger, E. (2013). Integrating the Illness Meaning and Experience of Patients: the McGill Illness Narrative Interview Schedule as a PCM Clinical Communication Tool. International Journal of Person Centered Medicine, 3(2):140-46.

James, C. C., Carpenter, K. A., Peltzer, K., & Weaver, S. (2013). Valuing psychiatric patients’ stories: Belief in and use of the supernatural in the Jamaican psychiatric setting. Transcultural psychiatry, 1363461513503879.

Macrae, L., Souza, A. N., Loiselle, C. G., & Wong, N. (2013). Experience of BRCA1/2 mutation negative young women from families with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer: a qualitative study. Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice, 11(14). doi: 10.1186/1897-4287-11-14

Mumtaz, Z., Merchant, N., & Levay, A. (2013). Factors Influencing the Uptake of HIV Testing During Antenatal Care in Rural Uganda. J Women’s Health Care,2(121), 2167-0420.

Douine, M., Bouchaud, O., Moro, M. R., Baubet, T., & Taieb, O. (2012). [Representations and illness narratives in migrants HIV-patients originating from West Africa]. Presse Med, 41(4), e204-212. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2011.09.029.

Galdas, P. M., Oliffe, J. L., Kang, H. B., & Kelly, M. T. (2012). Punjabi Sikh patients' perceived barriers to engaging in physical exercise following myocardial infarction. Public Health Nurs, 29(6), 534-541. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2012.01009.x

Knaus, V. (Ed.). (2012). Silent Harm: A Report Assessing the Situation of Repatriated Children's Psycho-social Health. Kosovo: UNICEF Kosovo.

Newton, E. G., Thombs, B. D., & Groleau, D. (2012). The experience of emotional distress among women with scleroderma. Qualitative Health Research, 22(9), 1195-1206.

Dickinson, P., Looper, K. J., & Groleau, D. (2011). Patients diagnosed with nonepileptic seizures: Their perspectives and experiences. Epilepsy & Behavior : E&B.

Muhwezi, W. W., Kinyanda, E., Mungherera, M., Onyango, P., Ngabirano, E., Muron, J., . . . Kajungu, R. (2011). Vulnerability to high risk sexual behaviour (HRSB) following exposure to war trauma as seen in post-conflict communities in eastern uganda: a qualitative study. Conflict & Health, 5, 22. doi: 10.1186/1752-1505-5-22.

Craig, S. R., Chase, L., & Lama, T. N. (2010). Taking the MINI to Mustang, Nepal: Methodological and epistemological translations of an illness narrative tool. Anthropology & Medicine, 17(1), 1-26.

Galdas, P. M., & Kang, H. B. (2010). Punjabi Sikh patients' cardiac rehabilitation experiences following myocardial infarction: a qualitative analysis. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19(21-22), 3134-3142.

Groleau, D., Whitley, R., Lesperance, F., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2010). Spiritual reconfigurations of self after a myocardial infarction: Influence of culture and place. Health & Place, 16(5), 853-860.

Lee, B. O., Kirmayer, L. J., & Groleau, D. (2010). Therapeutic Processes and Perceived Helpfulness of Dang-Ki (Chinese Shamanism) from the Symbolic Healing Perspective. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 34(1), 56-105.

Muhwezi, W. W., Okello, E. S., Neema, S., & Musisi, S. (2008). Caregivers' experiences with major depression concealed by physical illness in patients recruited from central Ugandan Primary Health Care Centers. Qualitative Health Research, 18(8), 1096-1114.

Lucas, H., Ding, S., & Bloom, G. (2008). What do we mean by ‘major illness’? The need for new approaches to research on the impact of ill-health on poverty. Studies in HSO&P, 23, 29-53.

Muhwezi, W. W. (2007). The Interface Between Family Structure, Life Events and Major Depression in Uganda. Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.

Whitley, R., Kirmayer, L. J., & Groleau, D. (2006). Public pressure, private protest: Illness narratives of West Indian immigrants in Montreal with medically unexplained symptoms. Anthropology and Medicine, 13(3), 193-205.

Whitley, R., Kirmayer, L. J., & Groleau, D. (2006). Understanding immigrants' reluctance to use mental health services: a qualitative study from Montreal. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 51(4), 205-209.

Stern, L., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2004). Knowledge structures in illness narratives: development and reliability of a coding scheme. Transcultural Psychiatry, 41(1), 130-142.

Groleau, D., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2004). Sociosomatic theory in Vietnamese immigrants' narratives of distress. Anthropology & Medicine, 11(2), 117-133.

Kirmayer, L. J., Groleau, D., Looper, K. J., & Dao, M. D. (2004). Explaining medically unexplained symptoms. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(10), 663-672.


Related Papers

Roth, E. G., Girling, L. M., Chard, S., Wallace, B. H., & Eckert, J. K. (2016). Diabetes and the Motivated Patient: Understanding Perlocutionary Effect in Health Communication. Health communication, 1-7.

Tallman, P. S. (2016). The Index of Vulnerability: An anthropological method linking social-ecological systems to mental and physical health outcomes. Social Science & Medicine.

Wallace, B. H., Reese, A. M., Chard, S., Roth, E. G., Quinn, C., & Eckert, J. K. (2016). Understanding the Subjective Experience of Medication Adherence for Older Urban African Americans With Type 2 Diabetes and a History of Illicit Drug Addiction. Journal of aging and health, 0898264316636840.

Rock, M., & Babinec, P. (2010). Prototypes connect human diabetes with feline and canine diabetes in the context of animal-human bonds: An anthropological analysis. Anthrozoös, 23(1), 5-20.

Kirmayer, L. J., & Bhugra, D. (2009). Culture and mental illness: social context and explanatory models. In I. M. Salloum & J. E. Mezzich (Eds.), Psychiatric Diagnosis: Patterns and Prospects (pp. 29-37). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Rudell, K., Bhui, K., & Priebe, S. (2009). Concept, development and application of a new mixed method assessment of cultural variations in illness perceptions: Barts Explanatory Model Inventory. Journal of Health Psychology, 14(2), 336-347.

Groleau, D., Zelkowitz, P., & Cabral, I. E. (2009). Enhancing generalizability: moving from an intimate to a political voice. Qualitative Health Research, 19(3), 416-426.

Coutu, M. F., Durand, M. J., Baril, R., Labrecque, M. E., Ngomo, S., Cote, D., et al. (2008). A review of assessment tools of illness representations: are these adapted for a work disability prevention context? J Occup Rehabil, 18(4), 347-361.

Haidet, P., O'Malley, K. J., Sharf, B. F., Gladney, A. P., Greisinger, A. J., & Street, R. L., Jr. (2008). Characterizing explanatory models of illness in healthcare: development and validation of the CONNECT instrument. Patient education and counseling, 73(2), 232-239.

Groleau, D., Pluye, P., & Nadeau, L. (2007). A mixed-method approach to the cultural understanding of distress and the non-use of mental health services Journal of Mental Health, 16(6), 731-741.

Groleau, D., Souliere, M., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2006). Breastfeeding and the cultural configuration of social space among Vietnamese immigrant woman. Health Place, 12(4), 516-526.