Preparations for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) revision began in 1999, when the American Psychiatric Association (APA) collaborated with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to stimulate the development of a research agenda that would address emerging opportunities relevant to psychiatric nosology. This early joint venture led to the commissioning of six work groups charged with creating recommendations for research that needed to be conducted in key areas. The authors were urged to embrace a vision that extended beyond specific, existing DSM-defined research efforts, to integrate information from a wide variety of sources and technologies, and to consider features of mental disorder that might be common across, rather than only within, extant diagnostic categories. For this reason, the work groups did not focus on specific diagnostic areas but rather on cross-cutting issues.
The papers resulting from these work group collaborations were published in A Research Agenda for DSM-V in 2002. The volume contains chapters on limitations and gaps in the current classification, the impact of developmental issues on diagnoses across the lifespan, questions of disability and impairment associated with mental disorders, the potential contributions of neuroscience to research on classification of disease, and cross-cultural considerations in diagnosis.
The first “research agenda” volume directed attention to the need for a comparable focus on topics that historically have received little research attention – namely, mental disorders in infants and young children and in older persons, and the intersection of gender and diagnosis. APA commissioned a second group of white papers, which appear in a follow-up volume, Age and Gender Considerations in Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Research Agenda for DSM-V, published in August 2007.