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Emotional disorders: Cluster 4 of the proposed meta-structure for DSM-V and ICD-11: Paper 5 of 7 of the thematic section: ‘A proposal for a meta-structure for DSM-V and ICD-11’

  • D. P. Goldberg (a1), R. F. Krueger (a2), G. Andrews (a3) and M. J. Hobbs (a3)



The extant major psychiatric classifications DSM-IV, and ICD-10, are atheoretical and largely descriptive. Although this achieves good reliability, the validity of a medical diagnosis would be greatly enhanced by an understanding of risk factors and clinical manifestations. In an effort to group mental disorders on the basis of aetiology, five clusters have been proposed. This paper considers the validity of the fourth cluster, emotional disorders, within that proposal.


We reviewed the literature in relation to 11 validating criteria proposed by a Study Group of the DSM-V Task Force, as applied to the cluster of emotional disorders.


An emotional cluster of disorders identified using the 11 validators is feasible. Negative affectivity is the defining feature of the emotional cluster. Although there are differences between disorders in the remaining validating criteria, there are similarities that support the feasibility of an emotional cluster. Strong intra-cluster co-morbidity may reflect the action of common risk factors and also shared higher-order symptom dimensions in these emotional disorders.


Emotional disorders meet many of the salient criteria proposed by the Study Group of the DSM-V Task Force to suggest a classification cluster.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Professor Sir David Goldberg, Institute of Psychiatry, de Crespigny Park, LondonSE5 8AF, UK. (Email:


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