Reliability of DSM and empirically derived prototype diagnosis for mood, anxiety and personality disorders

Maayan Nagar, Drew Westen, Ora Nakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Prominent psychiatric diagnostic systems such as the DSM-IV and ICD-10 have shown low reliability in clinical practice. An alternative approach to classification of psychiatric disorders is prototype matching. In the current study, we examined reliability of assessing mood, anxiety and personality disorders using a multi-method multi informant approach. More specifically, we examined diagnosis made by treating clinician and independent expert clinical interviewer, using three different diagnostic systems (DSM symptom count, DSM-IV prototype diagnosis and empirically derived prototype diagnosis). Methods: A convenience sample of clinicians (N = 80) and patients (N = 170) from eight community mental health clinics in Israel participated in the study. Results: Our findings show fair to excellent interrater reliability for prototype dimensional diagnostic systems (ranged from 0.40 to 0.79) for most mood and anxiety disorders examined. Overall, dimensional diagnostic systems, yielded better interrater reliability for mood, anxiety and personality disorders, as compared with categorical diagnosis. There were no significant differences between dimensional systems. Conclusions: Our findings provide further support to the advantages of dimensional over categorical models in increasing reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Dimensional diagnosis
  • Mood and anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Prototype matching
  • Reliability of diagnosis


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