The construct of mental disorder

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10 Scopus citations


Bergner expresses well the fundamental issues and principal difficulties in defining the construct of mental disorder. However, it is unlikely that the definition by Ossorio that Bergner advocates will prove to be any more successful than prior efforts. Discussed briefly within this commentary are three issues: (a) the absence of an operational definition for a theoretical construct, (b) the absence of a distinct boundary either with physical disorders or with normality for the construct of mental disorder, and (c) the impact of values and culture. These issues are fundamental and substantial. Nevertheless, it is argued that the construct of mental disorder (as an involuntary organismic impairment in psychological functioning) does have substantial validity as a scientific construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-266
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Culture
  • Diagnosis
  • Mental disorder
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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