Diagnostic categories or dimensions? A question for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fifth Edition

Thomas A. Widiger, Douglas B. Samuel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

540 Scopus citations

Abstract

The question of whether mental disorders are discrete clinical conditions or arbitrary distinctions along dimensions of functioning is a long-standing issue, but its importance is escalating with the growing recognition of the frustrations and limitations engendered by the categorical model. The authors provide an overview of some of the dilemmas of the categorical model, followed by a discussion of research that addresses whether mental disorders are accurately or optimally classified categorically or dimensionally. The authors' intention is to document the importance of this issue and to suggest that future editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders give more recognition to dimensional models of classification. They conclude with a dimensional mental disorder classification that they suggest provides a useful model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-504
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume114
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Keywords

  • Categorical
  • Classification
  • DSM-V
  • Diagnosis
  • Dimensional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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