The decision to remove homosexuality from the DSM: twenty years later

Am J Psychother. Summer 1995;49(3):416-27. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.1995.49.3.416.


Twenty years have passed since the American Psychiatric Association (APA) voted, in 1973, to remove "Ego-syntonic Homosexuality" from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The present study investigates the influence of the patient's sexual orientation on the therapist's perception of the former's mental health. Four hundred and seventeen Israeli therapists (psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and social workers) participated in the study, representing a cross-section of professionals in the mental health services in Israel. The measures included a demographic questionnaire and a perceived-severity scale of rating. Participants were assigned case histories where a hypothetical patient was heterosexual or ego-syntonic homosexual. Attributions of severity of mental status were found to differ as a function of sexual orientation of patient. Results are discussed in terms of the latent function of psychotherapy, considering the contrast between the liberal political attitudes and the secular way of life of the therapists on the one hand and their conservatism in the clinical domain on the other hand.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Homosexuality / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychotherapy