A Logical Basis for the Structure of Multi-Axial Descriptions of Psychiatric Patients

  • John E. Cooper


The first section of this paper is a critical discussion of the nature and purposes of what is nowadays usually called “multiaxial classification”. The characteristics of so-called “axes” are discussed, in order to examine the relationships between them. Suggestions are then made as to how the information in published multi-axial systems can be viewed in relation to the complete set of clinical and social information that comprises the conventional clinical formulation. A simple basic division into unchanging and changing categories is suggested. Finally, a particular hierarchical system of classification is suggested as suitable for classifying some physical, personal and social aspects of the patient.


Taxonomic Hierarchy Group Role Standardise Rating System Primary Care Worker Social Procedure 
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  1. Cooper, J.E. (1980) The description and classification of social disability by means of a taxonomic hierarchy. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Supplement 285. Vol 62.Google Scholar
  2. Mezzich, J.E., (1979). Pattern and Issues in multi-axial Psychiatric Diagnosis. Psychological Medicine 9 125–137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Cooper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of NottinghamUK

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