How Voting and Consensus Created the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III)

James Davies
2016 Anthropology & Medicine  
This paper examines how Task Force votes were central to the development of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III and DSM-III-R). Data were obtained through a literature review, investigation of DSM archival material housed at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and interviews with key Task Force members of DSM-III and DSM-III-R. Such data indicate that Task Force votes played a central role in the making of DSM-III, from establishing diagnostic criteria and
more » ... nostic definitions to settling questions about the inclusion or removal of diagnostic categories. The paper concludes that while the APA represented DSM-III, and the return to descriptive psychiatry it inaugurated, as a triumph of empirically based decision-making, the evidence presented here fails to support that view. Since the DSM is a cumulative project, and as DSM-III lives on through subsequent editions, this paper calls for a more socio-historically informed understanding of DSM's construction to be deployed in how the DSM is taught and implemented in training and clinical settings.
doi:10.1080/13648470.2016.1226684 pmid:27650639 fatcat:htt6jajpozenxao7yoaepufdvu