ABS&Comment: Sprock, Relative size of the literatures for psychopathologi cal disorders: Number of articles pertaining to DSM-IV diagnostic categories

Gretchen Whitney gwhitney at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Fri Jun 2 18:41:16 EDT 2000

E-MAIL:  J-Sprock at indstate.edu

TI:     Relative size of the literatures for psychopathological disorders:
Number of articles pertaining to DSM-IV diagnostic categories
AU:     Sprock J, Herrmann D
JO:     JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY   56: (4) 491-504 APR 2000

Comment, E. Garfield:

There is nothing unusual here for the bibliometrician.  However, it is odd
to find the authors relying on the excellent 1973 book by H.W. Menard, "
Science growth and change" as their  source for the definition of

"Menard, H.W. (1973) Science growth and change" Cambridge, MA. Harvard
University Press."


 "The method used here, called bibliometric analysis, was developed in
sociology as a means of studying the dissemination of scientific knowledge
(see Menard, 1973).  Bibliometric analyses uses quantitative methods to
describe patterns of scholarly communication and include procedures such
as publication counts (bibliographic analysis) and citation analysis.
Computerized databases have facilitated literature reviews, the
identification of articles on particular topics, and the use of
references as data for bibliometric studies.  While bibliographic analyses
have been used to examine particular disorders or groups of disorders
(e.g. Birmaher, Ryan, Williamson, & Brent, 1996; Crockford & el-Guebaly,
1998; Krasuski & Janiak, 1994; Summers, 1986), there are no known
comprehensive studies examining the size of the literatures across the
spectrum of mental disorders."


                Overall, considerably more articles addressed the major
mental disorders than less severe disorders, and there were also a higher
number of publications concerning disorders with physiological or
neurobehavioral components.  Major depression and schizophrenia had
particularly impressive numbers of articles.  Generally, new nomenclature
was shown to be slowly entering the literature as is research on newly
introduced disorders.  There was a pattern in which certain disorders
within a group of disorders received a preponderance of the attention of
researchers while other categories were virtually ignored.

                Based on this review, it appears that there are a number
of disorders with relatively small literatures, some of which may warrant
much more investigation.  Understandably, extremely rare disorders have
attracted little attention, and research on newly introduced disorders is
just beginning to accumulate.  However, there appear to be certain
disorders that have been emphasized in the literature while others have
been neglected.
Some of these latter disorders may lack sufficient research for continued
inclusion in our diagnostic system (Blashfield et al., 1990; Pincus,
Frances, Davis, First, & Widiger, 1992).  Researchers might peruse the
present data to determine where to direct their future research efforts.
Although it is beyond the scope of this article to suggest how research
might be focused in the future, the present findings provide a means of
assessing how society has invested its resources in
psychopathology research."

 Document type: Article Language:: English    Cited References: 50 Times
Cited: 0

A computerized search of the 1991-1997 PsycLIT database was used to quantify
the size of the literature for each of  the DSM-IV mental disorders. The
search included DSM-IV/IIIR diagnoses and alternative terms for the
disorders to provide a complete assessment. Generally it was found that
major disorders and those with neurophysiological components were
investigated a great deal (there were over 10,000 articles for both major
depression and schizophrenia) while there were few articles concerning rare
or newly introduced disorders. Within diagnostic groups certain disorders
received the preponderance of research attention. Factors related to the
degree to which a mental disorder is investigated are discussed. These
findings should stimulate consideration of whether clinical research is
directing its efforts in a way that best promotes understanding of the
nature and treatment of mental disorders. (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons. Inc.

Author Keywords:
DSM-IV mental disorders, literature search, psychopathology, research,

KeyWords Plus:

Sprock J, Indiana State Univ, Dept Psychol, Terre Haute, IN 47809 USA.
Indiana State Univ, Dept Psychol, Terre Haute, IN 47809 USA.


IDS Number:


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