The authors applied seven different sets of diagnostic criteria for
alcoholism to data obtained by using the Schedule of Affective Disorders
and Schizophrenia (SADS) in a community sample. They found that the
different diagnostic schemes for alcoholism are hierarchical in the sense
that some definitions identify smaller groups of subjects as alcoholic than
do other definitions. This study illustrates a potentially useful empirical
approach to comparing diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders in
epidemiologic or clinical studies.