Description: This is a new and comprehensive collection of literature reviews documenting the rationale and empirical support for the text and criteria sets presented in DSM-IV. The DSM-IV literature reviews are divided into three volumes covering all the important aspects regarding the reliability and validity of DSM-IV.
Purpose: The purpose of the sourcebooks, according to the editors, is to present to the public the process of the development of DSM-IV. It chronicles the efforts of the DSM-IV Work Groups in critically reviewing the empirical basis of the DSM-IV. The literature reviews also serve to identify gaps and inadequacies within the literature on questions of crucial importance to the DSM-IV Work Groups.
Audience: The intended audience, although not specifically stated by the editors, are the users of DSM-IV. Anyone who wants to learn the "hows and whys" of the DSM-IV would benefit from this book. The book would be useful to research psychiatrists and psychologists, psychiatric residents and fellows, and other mental health workers who want to learn the empirical basis (or lack of one) for a particular DSM-IV diagnosis.
Features: The book has six sections divided into 54 chapters, including a useful index section. The book covers the topics of mood disorders, late luteal phase dysphoric disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychiatric interface disorders (i.e., somatization disorder, hypochondriasis), and sexual disorders. Each review contains the following sections: statement of the issues, significance of the issues, methods, results, discussion, and recommendations.
Assessment: This is an excellent and comprehensive set of literature reviews that is a welcome addition to psychiatry. It shows the firm grounding of psychiatric diagnoses on an empirical basis. I found that I would learn something new each time I read a review. It will certainly be a useful addition to my library.