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, 114 (4), 551-6

Dimensional Versus Categorical Classification of Mental Disorders in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and Beyond: Comment on the Special Section

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Dimensional Versus Categorical Classification of Mental Disorders in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and Beyond: Comment on the Special Section

Timothy A Brown et al. J Abnorm Psychol.

Abstract

The value of including dimensional elements in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been recognized for decades. Nevertheless, no proposals have been made for introducing dimensional classification in the diagnostic system in a valid and feasible manner. As an initial step in this endeavor, the authors suggest introducing dimensional severity ratings to the extant diagnostic categories and criteria sets. Although not without difficulties, this would begin to determine the feasibility of dimensional classification and would address some limitations of the purely categorical approach (e.g., failure to capture individual differences in disorder severity, and clinically significant features subsumed by other disorders or falling below conventional DSM thresholds). The utility of incorporating broader dimensions of temperament and personality in diagnostic systems beyond the fifth edition of the DSM is also discussed.

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