Categorical versus dimensional classification first became a matter of concern when the DSM-III tripled the number of diagnoses described by its predecessors, thereby raising the question of boundaries between old and new diagnostic entities. As diagnoses proliferated, the frequency of comor-
bidity increased, causing clinicians to ask whether comorbidity represents the co-occurrence of two or more mental disorders or a single disorder that has simply been labeled in different ways. As a consequence, the advantages and disadvantages of dimensional and categorical approaches to personality and diagnosis are now being explored extensively (e.g., Widiger, 1997). The focus of these efforts is on the Personality Disorders, where symptom overlap is greatest.
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Peter E. Nathan University of Iowa, Iowa City
See also: Diagnosis; Reliability
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