DSM-III suggests that axis IV should have prognostic value--that
patients with higher scores will have a better outcome than patients with
low ratings. The authors used axis IV to assign scores to 130 depressed
inpatients and examined these scores in association with the patients'
course during the index hospitalization and at 6-month prospective
follow-up. Higher axis IV scores were associated with more depressive
symptoms on hospital discharge, but they did not predict follow-up outcome.
These results are consistent with other studies of the prognostic value of
ratings of psychosocial stress and indicate that, at least for depression,
there is little empirical support for DSM-III's suggestion that stress is a
favorable prognostic sign.