To the Editor.—
Cantwell and his colleagues presented a series of four articles1-4 comparing DSM-II and DSM-III in the diagnosis of childhood psychiatric disorders. Summarizing the results, they conclude that "DSMIII, with additional refinement, gives promise of being a very usable and reliable classification system for the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents."4(p1228) However, whether one agrees with this conclusion appears to be a case of whether one sees the glass as being half full or half empty. Specifically, it is difficult to agree with the authors' conclusions that the interrater reliability of DSM-III, as well as the raters' agreement with the expected diagnosis, are acceptable. The reliability figures presented are modest, at best, and for a variety of reasons are probably inflated estimates of the true reliabilities. The reasons for this conclusion will be briefly discussed.The experimental procedure used by the authors involved presenting
Milich R. DSM-III vs DSM-II: How Much More Reliable? Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(12):1426. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780250112016
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