Descriptive validity of DSM-III depressions

Horacio Fabrega, Juan E. Mezzich, Ada C. Mezzich, Gerald A. Coffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


There are five categories of psychiatric disorders in DSM-III that embrace depressive moods: Adjustment disorder with depressed mood (group 1), bipolar depression (group 2), major depression (group 3), dysthymic disorder (group 4), and atypical depression (group 5). A large sample of patients seen in a metropolitan university psychiatric referral center, with these categories as primary diagnoses in axis I, constitute the subjects studied (N = 2988). The study includes a comparison of the cross-sectional clinical properties of these patients, including an inventory of psychopathological symptoms, entries in axes II to V (i.e., as described in DSM-III, plus a sixth axis measuring current adjustment) and immediate dispositions rendered by clinicians. This study addresses the descriptive validity of DSM-III diagnostic categories of depression. A clustering of depressions based on a continuum of severity is uncovered as well as unique features of certain subtypes that point to categorical aspects of DSM-III mood disorders. The nature and implication of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-584
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes


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