Removal of Asperger's syndrome from the DSM V: community response to uncertainty

Health Commun. 2016;31(4):485-94. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2014.968828. Epub 2015 Sep 23.


The May 2013 release of the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) subsumed Asperger's syndrome under the wider diagnostic label of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The revision has created much uncertainty in the community affected by this condition. This study uses problematic integration theory and thematic analysis to investigate how participants in Wrong Planet, a large online community associated with autism and Asperger's syndrome, have constructed these uncertainties. The analysis illuminates uncertainties concerning both the likelihood of diagnosis and value of diagnosis, and it details specific issues within these two general areas of uncertainty. The article concludes with both conceptual and practical implications.

MeSH terms

  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Uncertainty*