The length and expense of comprehensive personality disorder interviews makes them unwieldy for routine use. A brief but sensitive screen could eliminate administration of longer instruments in many instances. We describe the development of the Iowa Personality Disorder Screen (IPDS) - a mini-structured interview which can be completed in less than 5 minutes. Retrospective analyses using 1203 SIDP-R interviews suggested that the IPDS items should provide good sensitivity and specificity. We present results from a prospective validation study, using a mixed group of 52 nonpsychotic inpatients and outpatients who were diagnosed using the SIDP-IV. Blind administration of the IPDS yielded excellent sensitivity (92%) and good specificity (79%), using a subset of five screening items. Addition of two more items leads to an estimated sensitivity of 79% and specificity of 86%. The IPDS shows promise as a quick personality disorder screen for use in research settings or standard clinical interviews.