Are there relational disorders? A harmful dysfunction perspective: Comment on the special section

Jerome C. Wakefield

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Can relational disorders exist as genuine medical disorders, even when there is no disorder in either individual participating in the relationship? Using the harmful dysfunction analysis of the concept of disorder as a framework, this comment on the special section on Relational Disorders (September 2006 issue of the Journal of Family Psychology) presents the argument that relational disorders do indeed exist. The harmful dysfunction analysis holds that disorders are harmful failures of biologically selected functions. The position argued for here is that there are evolutionarily selected functions that depend for their performance on the nature of the interaction between individuals and that these relational functions can fail, even when both individuals are normal, because of mismatches between normal variations. Thus, there are genuine relational dysfunctions that, when harmful, are relational disorders. Indeed, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) currently misclassifies some sexual relational disorders as individual disorders.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)423-427
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Family Psychology
    Volume20
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

    Fingerprint

    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    Psychology

    Keywords

    • Diagnosis
    • DSM
    • Harmful dysfunction
    • Mental disorder
    • Relational disorder

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Psychology(all)

    Cite this

    Are there relational disorders? A harmful dysfunction perspective : Comment on the special section. / Wakefield, Jerome C.

    In: Journal of Family Psychology, Vol. 20, No. 3, 01.09.2006, p. 423-427.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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