DSM-5 Research: Assessing the Mental Health Needs of Older Adults from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds

Alexis Lee Rose, Monit Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article analyzes current trends and limitations in the design of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) with a focus on its application to older adults from diverse ethnic backgrounds. An analysis of 54 articles published between 2001 and 2011 in 4 social science databases that discussed DSM and its applicability to assessing ethnically diverse older adults' mental health revealed 5 major themes: (1) assessment issues related to acculturation, (2) limitations with "culture" elements, (3) health disparities, (4) evidence-based practice with dementia, and (5) prevalence of anxiety and depression. Contributors to the DSM-5 must examine limitations, be mindful of cultural elements, and formulate culturally and age-sensitive diagnostic criteria. It is suggested that cultural competence trainings focus on the needs of elderly of color to help this population express culturally relevant and personally unique experiences in the diagnostic process. These considerations must also be inclusive of national and international populations facing mental health challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-167
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • DSM-5
  • cultural relevancy
  • depression
  • diagnostic criteria
  • diagnostic manual
  • elderly of color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


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