• DSM diagnosis;
  • questionnaire

Abstract The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition (DSM-III), a new standardized diagnostic system with multiaxial diagnosis, operational criteria and renewed definitions of mental disorders, was introduced in 1980 and prompted movements to reform conventions in Japanese psychiatry. This review overviews the initial response of Japanese clinicians to accept DSM-III, and its effects on the development of systematic research of psychiatric diagnosis. These new research activities include those on reliability of psychiatric diagnosis, application of various evaluation tools, discussion on the concept of mental disorders, relation of personality disorders with depressive disorders, and Taijin-kyofusho, or culturally distinctive phobia in Japan. A reference database search to survey the latest trend on psychiatric research indicated that the number of papers published by Japanese workers increased sharply after 1987, and DSM apparently greatly influenced their internationalization. Twenty years after the publication of DSM-III, a questionnaire on the use of DSM-IV was set out in 2000 to survey how widely DSM is utilized in clinical practice in Japan. Two hundred and twelve psychiatrists answered the questionnaire, and the results show that DSM has been accepted positively by the younger generation, while the older generation (over 40s) has still less interest in DSM, and DSM is used mainly for research purposes rather than in daily practice.