The Strengths and Weaknesses of the DSM-IV Classification System for Diagnosing Psychopathology

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The Strengths and Weaknesses of the DSM-IV Classification System for Diagnosing Psychopathology

DSM-IV as a system of diagnosis has been criticised on its very foundation that far from improving the clinical practice it claims to have prioritised. To assess its strengths and weaknesses, the essay critically examined the purpose of DSM-IV and how its practice and techniques have been practically found useful. As in the definition offered by Allen (1998) the concept stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. As a system, Allen (1998) added that, it ‘details the diagnostic criteria for nearly 300 mental disorders and nearly 100 other psychological conditions’. Stressing its strengths, many studies highlighted on its research focus that its authors have over-concentrated on its reliability which further led to its criticism. This criticism among other thing include the neglect some of the issues concerning clinicians, lack of precision in of its criteria, and bias that emanate from the technique that predetermine the patients disorders. The essay, however, have survey literature based on the various issues raised as to its weakness and how these weakness to be overcome. Given the last points, comparative studies conducted on improvement measures to the clinical practices are examined.
There are considerable issues to highlight in evaluating strengths and limitations of using DSM-IV as a method for diagnosing psychopathology. These are its emphasis on reliability and validity of it diagnostic criteria and classification methods and techniques. The strengths and limitations in the application of DSM-IV, as could be observed, depend on the technique and the purposes th...

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...tent/full/156/11/1677 [accessed on 24th/11/2010]
Ronald, C (2006), ‘Clinical calibrations of DSM-IV Diagnoses in the World Mental Health (WMH) Version of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI)’. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, Vol. 13/2.
Samuel, D. B. and Widiger, T. A. (2006), ‘Clinicians’ Judgements of Clinical Utility: A Comparison of the DSM-IV and Five-Factor Models’. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 115/5.
[Accessed on: 25/11/2010]
Semiz UB, Basoglu C, Oner O, Munir KM, Ates A, Algul A, Ebrinc S, Cetin M. (2008), 'Effects of diagnostic comorbidity and dimensional symptoms of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder in men with antisocial personality disorder'. Aust N Z J Psychiatry, 42(5):405-13. Online: [accessed on: 24/11/2010]

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