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A woman's view of DSM-III.

A woman's view of DSM-III. Argues that one reason women's treatment rates for mental illness are higher than men's is that masculine-biased assumptions about what behaviors are healthy and what behaviors are "crazy" are codified in diagnostic criteria and thus influence diagnosis and treatment patterns. Several theories accounting for women's higher treatment rates are reviewed. P. Chesler's (1972) theory of women's overconforming and underconforming to sex-role stereotypes is evaluated in the light of the I. D. Broverman et al findings that therapists' criteria for healthiness in men and healthiness in adults were the same, but their criteria for healthiness in women were different. The implications of DSM-III's definition of mental disorder, the diagnoses of Histrionic Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder, and 2 fictitious diagnostic categories (Independent Personality Disorder and Restricted Personality Disorder) are discussed to illustrate assumptions implicit in DSM-III diagnoses. It is shown that behaving in a feminine stereotyped manner alone will earn a DSM-III diagnosis but behaving in a masculine stereotyped manner alone will not. A past diagnosis regarding women's sexuality is reviewed to specifically illustrate past assumptions resulting in the labeling of healthy women as sick. (33 ref) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Psychologist American Psychological Association

A woman's view of DSM-III.

American Psychologist , Volume 38 (7): 7 – Jul 1, 1983

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1983 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0003-066x
eISSN
1935-990X
DOI
10.1037/0003-066X.38.7.786
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Argues that one reason women's treatment rates for mental illness are higher than men's is that masculine-biased assumptions about what behaviors are healthy and what behaviors are "crazy" are codified in diagnostic criteria and thus influence diagnosis and treatment patterns. Several theories accounting for women's higher treatment rates are reviewed. P. Chesler's (1972) theory of women's overconforming and underconforming to sex-role stereotypes is evaluated in the light of the I. D. Broverman et al findings that therapists' criteria for healthiness in men and healthiness in adults were the same, but their criteria for healthiness in women were different. The implications of DSM-III's definition of mental disorder, the diagnoses of Histrionic Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder, and 2 fictitious diagnostic categories (Independent Personality Disorder and Restricted Personality Disorder) are discussed to illustrate assumptions implicit in DSM-III diagnoses. It is shown that behaving in a feminine stereotyped manner alone will earn a DSM-III diagnosis but behaving in a masculine stereotyped manner alone will not. A past diagnosis regarding women's sexuality is reviewed to specifically illustrate past assumptions resulting in the labeling of healthy women as sick. (33 ref)

Journal

American PsychologistAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Jul 1, 1983

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