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Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2007 Oct;4(10):18-22.

How "objective" are psychiatric diagnoses?: (guess again).

Author information

  • Dr. Pies is Professor of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York; and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts USM, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

Critics of psychiatry often argue that psychiatric diagnosis lacks "objectivity," particularly when compared with diagnosis in other medical specialties. However, when one examines interrater reliability-an important component of objectivity-the kappa values for several major psychiatric disorders are generally on a par with those in other medical specialties. Nonetheless, in psychiatry as in all of general medicine, there is an irreducible element of the subjective. That is part of the "art" of medical and psychiatric practice.

KEYWORDS:

diagnosis; interrater reliability; kappa; objectivity

PMID:
20428307
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC2860522
Free PMC Article
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