On the Threshold of Disorder: A Study of the Impact of the DSM-IV Clinical Significance Criterion on Diagnosing Depressive and Anxiety Disorders in Clinical Practice. [CME]
J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(10):1400-1405
© Copyright 2016 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Purchase This PDF for $40.00
If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
(You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP online-only ($86) or print + online ($156 individual).
With your subscription, receive a free PDF collection of the NCDEU Festschrift articles. Hurry! This offer ends December 31, 2011.
If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
Click here to login.
Did you forget your password?
Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send email
Background: Two recent reanalyses of epidemiologic studies found that adding a clinical significance criterion reduced disorder prevalence. Patients presenting for clinical care are usually distressed or impaired by their symptoms; thus, the DSM-IV clinical significance criterion might have little impact on diagnosis in clinical practice. In the present report from the Rhode Island Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project, we examine the impact of the DSM-IV clinical significance criterion on diagnostic frequencies of depressive and anxiety disorders in psychiatric outpatients.
Method: 1500 psychiatric outpatients were evaluated with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. We determined the percentage of patients who met symptom criteria but did not meet the DSM-IV clinical significance criterion for major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, specific phobia, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Results: No patient who met the symptom criteria for current major depressive disorder or PTSD failed to meet the clinical significance criterion. Less than 2% of patients meeting the symptom criteria for current GAD did not meet the clinical significance criterion. There was variability among the remaining anxiety disorders in the percentage of symptomatic patients who met the clinical significance criterion.
Conclusion: In psychiatric patients, the clinical significance criterion had little impact on diagnosing major depressive disorder, GAD, and PTSD, disorders that are defined, in part, by disruptions of daily regulatory domains such as sleep, appetite, energy, and concentration. In contrast, the clinical significance criterion had a greater impact in determining whether phobic fears, obsessive thoughts, and panic attacks were sufficiently distressing or impairing to qualify for disorder status.