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Multicultural Perspectives on Assessment and Taxonomy of Psychopathology

  • Thomas M. AchenbachEmail author
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Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)

Abstract

This chapter presents the top-down approach to taxonomy embodied in the American Psychiatric Association’s (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edn. Author, Washington, DC, 2013) “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” and the World Health Organization’s (Mental disorders: glossary and guide to their classification in accordance with the tenth revision of the international classification of diseases, 10th edn. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992) “International Classification of Diseases.” In this approach, experts decide on diagnostic categories and then specify criteria for each diagnosis. Standardized diagnostic interviews (SDIs) have been developed to operationalize the diagnostic criteria in terms of questions that trained interviewers ask parents and children. Perhaps owing to methodological differences, SDIs have yielded vastly different prevalence rates for diagnoses in different societies. The chapter also presents the bottom-up approach, which starts with pools of items describing specific child problems that are rated by informants such as parents, teachers, and the children themselves. Ratings for large samples of children are factor analyzed to derive syndromes of co-occurring problems. Individual children can then be assessed by rating their problems and by summing the ratings of items comprising scales for each syndrome. To enable users to evaluate the magnitude of scale scores, norms are constructed for children of each gender within particular age ranges rated by particular kinds of informants for various multicultural groupings. Cutpoints are applied to the scale scores to identify possible needs for help and probable needs for help. Factor analyses of data from multiple cultures have supported the cross-cultural generalizability of some statistically derived syndromes. The sum of ratings for all items provides a global index of psychopathology that varies much less across societies than prevalence estimates for diagnoses.

Keywords

Assessment of psychopathology Taxonomy of psychopathology Multicultural aspects of psychopathology Cross-informant agreement on assessment of psychopathology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • F Verhulst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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