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Asian J Psychiatr. 2010 Mar;3(1):20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2009.12.004. Epub 2010 Mar 4.

Comparison of psychiatrists' views on classification of mental disorders in four East Asian countries/area.

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Department of Adult Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, NCNP, 4-1-1 Ogawa-Higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8553, Japan.



Authors of this study collaborated with psychiatrists in East Asia to undertake the international survey with the following objectives: (1) to identify the psychiatric classification systems currently used in East Asia, (2) to describe the views of psychiatrists on the classificatory systems of mental disorders in Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, (3) to analyze their similarities and differences among the four countries/area, and (4) to discuss factors which influence the usages of the classificatory systems in East Asia.


Views of psychiatrists in four East Asian countries/area were collected by a minimum of 100 psychiatrists in each country/area using the same questionnaire. Psychiatrists from East Asian countries/area completed the questionnaire developed originally by a New Zealand psychiatrist and translated into Japanese, Korean and Chinese. The questionnaire was designed to determine the views of psychiatrists in the utilization, preference, and opinion about the current classificatory systems represented by the DSM and ICD.


The study revealed variations in the utilization, preference and opinion for further revision of the DSM and the ICD classificatory systems in East Asia. Psychiatrists in China and Japan routinely use the ICD, while psychiatrists in Korea and Taiwan favor using the DSM. The majority of Asian psychiatrists expressed the view that it was sometimes difficult to apply the system transculturally.


Views on psychiatric classification in a country/area are strongly influenced by several factors including mental health service systems, psychiatric resources and historical background.

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