We’ve previously published an article with information and resources to help you understand the differences between the DSM-IV and its latest version, the DSM 5. In this post, we turn our focus to DSM-5-relevant instruments to assess clients.

With the advent of the DSM-5 in 2013, clinicians wondered if instruments formulated on the basis of the DSM-IV and current in the DSM-IV years would be valid and reliable measures now with the DSM-5 description of personality disorders. A comprehensive review of all measures used to assess personality disorders was undertaken by Furnham, Milner, Akhtar, and DeFruyt (2014). They begin the review by commenting that, despite the lively debates about personality disorders over the years and the “great shake-up” of the move to the current DSM, the DSM-5 has preserved in its Section 2 the categorical personality disorders like distinguished in the DSM-IV, while an alternative trait system is referred to in Section 3 for further research and evaluation (APA, 2013; Furnham et al, 2014).

Although much work is being done to update and validate the new (DSM-5-oriented) trait versions of the instruments, the diagnosis and assessment of categorical personality disorders is primarily advocated in the official nomenclature of the American Psychiatric Association. These, the review authors report, have – for the most part – reasonable validity and reliability. A majority of the measures, they say, “mimic DSM-5 categorical criteria and are not about the distinction among subtypes of a specific personality disorder” (Furnham et al, 2014, p 1647). Thus the concerned clinician can be reassured that the DSM-IV versions of diagnostic and assessment instruments are acceptable to continue using to assess personality disorder without running counter to the DSM-5 framework.

You can view the review article in Psychology journal directly or access it through ResearchGate, which is free to join.

Here is the reference:

Furnham, A., Milner, R., Akhtar, R., & DeFruyt, F. (2014). A review of the measures designed to assess DSM-5 personality disorders. Psychology (09/2014); 5(14): 1646-1686. DOI: 10.4236/psych.2014.514175.