DSM-5-TR Considerations of the impact of racism and discrimination on mental disorders

By Heidi Tobe on December 13, 2023

Today is the last of our blogs on the DSM-5-TR changes (and the one I’m most eager to share about). Starting in January 2024, the ASWB exams will transition from testing the DSM-5 to the DSM-5-TR. As we’ve discussed over the past several months of blogs covering these changes, the updates are relatively minor overall. The final installment of our blog series on the DSM-5-TR isn’t a new or updated diagnosis. Rather, it is about the APA consulting with culture and equity professionals.

DSM-5 TR Considerations of the impact of racism and discrimination on mental disorders

Acknowledgement of Race and Discrimination in Mental Health

For the first time, the DSM now acknowledges the role race and discrimination have historically had in mental health diagnosis and care, and the ways they continue to impact it to this day. Throughout the DSM-5-TR, you will see updated language that promotes inclusivity for people of color and marginalized groups. Some changes include (APA, 2022):

  • “The term ‘racialized’ is used instead of 'race/racial' to highlight the socially constructed nature of race. 
  • The term ‘ethnoracial’ is used in the text to denote the U.S. Census categories, such as Hispanic, White, or African American, that combine ethnic and racialized identifiers. 
  • The terms ‘minority’ and ‘non-White’ are avoided because they describe social groups in relation to a racialized “majority,” a practice that tends to perpetuate social hierarchies.
  • The emerging term ‘Latinx’ is used in place of Latino/Latina to promote gender-inclusive terminology. 
  • The term Caucasian is not used because it is based on obsolete and erroneous views about the geographic origin of a prototypical pan-European ethnicity. 
  • Prevalence data on specific ethnoracial groups were included when existing research documented reliable estimates based on representative samples.”

Additionally, ‘attention was paid to the risk of misdiagnosis when evaluating individuals from socially oppressed ethnoracial groups’ (APA, 2022). 

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*information retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/getmedia/f4057bcd-c345-4d81-a4ce-02c5eb29454b/APA-DSM5TR-AttentiontoCultureRacismandDiscrimination.pdf





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