DSM–IV and culture: is the classification internationally valid?

  • Littlewood R
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Although relatively neglected in Britain, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been widely adopted in both Western and non-Western countries (Spitzer, Williams & Skrodol, 1983). The descriptive and multiaxial approach used in DSM-III (1980) and in its revised edition DSM-III-R (1987), together with the introduction of specific criteria for allocating each diagnosis, would seem particularly useful when comparing psychopathologies across societies. In addition to Axes I, II and III (Clinical Syndromes, Developmental and Personality Disorders, Physical Disorders and Conditions), the Manual has two more obviously ‘social’ axes – (IV) Severity of Psychosocial Stressors and (V) Global Assessment of Functioning.




Littlewood, R. (1992). DSM–IV and culture: is the classification internationally valid? Psychiatric Bulletin, 16(5), 257–261. https://doi.org/10.1192/pb.16.5.257

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