Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Psychological Disorder

  • Maxine Holmqvist
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1173



A distinctive pattern of cognitive, and/or behavioral symptoms in an individual, arising from underlying psychobiological dysfunction and causing significant distress, impairment, or an increased risk of death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Psychological disorders do not include culturally sanctioned responses to life events (e.g., feeling sad after a significant loss).


The term “psychological disorder” is often used interchangeably with similar terms, including “mental disorder” and “psychiatric illness.” It may be a preferable term to “mental disorder,” which evokes a mind/body dualism that is inconsistent with modern theories that emphasize the biopsychosocial origins of disease (Fulford, Thornton, & Graham 2006). The term “psychological disorder” is broad, encompassing both disorders...

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References and Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Fourth Edition, Text revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. See also http://www.psych.org/mainmenu/research/dsmiv.aspx
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2011). DSM-5 Development Page. Retrieved from http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
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  8. Raskin, J. D., & Lewandowski, A. M. (2000). The construction of disorder as human enterprise. In R. A. Neimeyer & J. D. Raskin (Eds.), Constructions of disorder: Meaning-making frameworks for psychotherapy (pp. 15–40). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Stein, D. J., Phillips, K. A., Bolton, D., Fulford, K. W. M., Sadler, J. Z., & Kendler, K. S. (2010). What is a mental/psychiatric disorder? From DSM-IV to DSM-V. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1759–1765.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. World Health Organization. (2007). International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th Revision, version for 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2011 from http://apps.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10online/

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Health PsychologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada