Classificatory Systems and Gender

  • Soumya Parameshwaran
  • Prabha S. ChandraEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Classificatory and diagnostic systems play an important role in helping clinicians make treatment decisions, communicating with each other, supporting medical education, and conducting research. Gender influences multiple aspects of psychopathology, help-seeking, social support, economic status, cultural expectations, and factors such as vulnerability to discrimination and violence. It is therefore essential for the DSM and ICD nosological systems to become gender sensitive. Gender differences are seen in prevalence, risk factors, course, and prognosis of psychiatric illness. The recent revisions in the diagnostic systems have tried to address some of these issues; however, there is still an opportunity to use better gender-sensitive approaches in the classificatory systems. As we move toward newer paradigms in classification, from a descriptive to an etiological approach, we have opportunities to include biological aspects of gender, that is, sex, as well. Various approaches in classification varying from a gender-neutral approach to providing differing diagnostic thresholds for men and women, using diagnostic specifiers, or having gender-specific diagnosis can improve care for both genders. In this chapter, we discuss various gender-based approaches that classificatory systems have used and make suggestions for better classification of psychiatric disorders in women’s mental health based on the influence of gender on psychiatric illness.


Gender Classificatory systems Women’s mental health DSM ICD Nosology Diagnosis 

List of Abbreviations


Attention deficit hyperactive disorder


Anorexia nervosa


Autism spectrum disorders


Bipolar affective disorder


Borderline personality disorder


Complex post-traumatic stress disorder


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


International Classification of Diseases


Intellectual disability


Late Luteal phase dysphoric disorder


Mixed anxiety-depression


Major depressive disorder


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryNational Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS)BengaluruIndia

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