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DSM-III field trials: II. Initial experience with the multiaxial system
Am J Psychiatry 1979;136:818-820.
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The multiaxial system of DSM-III includes nondiagnostic data that are valuable in understanding possible etiological factors and in treatment planning and prognosis. The authors describe the reliability of axis IV- -severity of psychosocial stressors--and axis V--highest level of adaptive functioning in the past year--for 281 adult patients interviewed in phase one of the DSM-III field trials. The kappa coefficient of agreement for axis IV was .62 for joint interviews and .58 for separate interviews, which the authors consider at least fair. Reliability for axis V was quite good, .80 for joint interviews and .69 for separate interviews. Eighty-one percent of the participating clinicians judged the multiaxial system to be a useful addition to traditional diagnostic evaluation, although many indicated that they had difficulty quantifying severity of psychosocial stressors.

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