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January 1987

Reliability of DSM-III Axis IV

Author Affiliations

Rivendell Adolescent Unit Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Hospital Road Concord West, NSW, 2137, Australia

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(1):96. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800130108019

To the Editor.—  In reviewing the multiaxial system of DSM-III in the February 1985 issue of the Archives, Williams1 stated that in the DSM-III field trials2 "the reliability of the judgment of severity of psychosocial stressors was at least fair." That assessment was based on a k coefficient of 0.62 for cases evaluated in joint interviews and 0.58 for test-retest evaluations. However, although the review quotes some of the criticisms of DSM-III made by Rutter and Shaffer,3 it does not repeat their conclusion about the methodology of the field trials: "there must be considerable reservations about the meaning of reliability figures obtained under such inadequate conditions."The bulk of the DSM-III field trial reliability data2 are based on evaluations made by two colleagues (each clinician chose his or her own partner in the study) from the same institution (and probably with the same biases) for

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