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October 1979

A Comparison of DSM-II and DSM-III in the Diagnosis of Childhood Psychiatric DisordersII. Interrater Agreement

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Mental Retardation and Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California at Los Angeles Center for the Health Sciences.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(11):1217-1222. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780110071008

• A case-history format was utilized to compare interrater agreement on childhood and adolescent psychiatric disorders, using DSM-II and DSM-III. The average interrater agreement was 57% for DSM-II and 54% for axis I (clinical psychiatric syndrome) of DSM-III. There was high agreement in both systems on cases of psychosis, conduct disorder, hyperactivity, and mental retardation, with DSM-III appearing slightly better. There was noteworthy interrater disagreement in both systems for "anxiety" disorders, complex cases, and in the subtyping of depression. Overall, the reliability of DSM-III appears to be good and is comparable with that of DSM-II and other classification systems of childhood psychiatric disorders.