August 1971

Diagnostic Criteria of American and British Psychiatrists

Author Affiliations

United Kingdom; London; United States; New York
From the US-UK Diagnostic Project, Biometrics Research, New York State Department of Mental Hygiene, New York (Drs. Sharpe and Gurland), and the Institute of Psychiatry, London (Drs. Kendell, Cooper, and Copeland and Mrs. Gourlay).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;25(2):123-130. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750140027006

Videotapes of diagnostic interviews with eight patients, three American and five English, were shown to large audiences of trained psychiatrists in the eastern United States and in different parts of the British Isles. The diagnoses made by these audiences were compared and for some patients there were major disagreements between them. The overall pattern of diagnostic differences between the American and British raters indicates that the American concept of schizophrenia is much broader than the British concept, embracing not only part of what in Britain would be regarded as depressive illness, but also substantial parts of several other diagnostic categories—manic illness, neurotic illness, and personality disorder. These serious differences in the usage of diagnostic terms have important implications for transatlantic communication, and indeed for international communication in general.