Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rajean Moone


Social Work


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is often considered the “Bible” of mental health diagnostics and is used extensively by mental health professionals in defining mental disorders. The DSM-5 was recently release on May 19, 2013. There has been much controversy and debate surrounding the release. The most dramatic is the structural change with the elimination of the multiaxes. This research examined the impact of the changes on the assessment and treatment planning process done by clinical social workers. Interviews were conducted with licensed clinical social workers employed in outpatient mental health setting to determine the impact on the patients they serve. There were major findings from this study. Consensus among clinicians interviewed was that the DSM-5 has strong ramifications for the following: (1) functions of DSM (2) stigma, (3) subjectivity of functional rating, (4) lack of guidance towards clinical interventions and (5) reclassification. The findings indicated that all participants in the study agreed that the DSM was useful for the purposes of educating individuals about their condition and giving all mental health professionals a common language with which to discuss mental health diagnoses. However, they felt the DSM is lacking in its utility for clinicians in that it does little to help determine probable causes of disorders and offers no suitable interventions to reduce or eliminate the presenting problem.

Included in

Social Work Commons