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October 1979

A Comparison of DSM-II and DSM-III in the Diagnosis of Childhood Psychiatric DisordersIII. Multiaxial Features

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):1223-1226. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780110077009

• A major feature of DSM-III is its multiaxial format. One purpose of this study was to examine the purported advantages of a multiaxial system as compared to those of a multicategory system, eg, DSM-II. We found that the multiaxial system led to a more complete and reliable diagnosis of complex clinical cases. Concomitant medical disorder and psychosocial stressors were coded with high levels of interrater agreement. We conclude that the multiaxial framework is a major strength of DSM-III.