Table of Contents
ISRN Neurology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 201719, 5 pages
Review Article

Quantitative Nature of Social Vulnerability and Autism: An Important Paradigm Shift in the DSM-5 for Autism Spectrum Disorder

1Health Service Center, Kagoshima University, 1-21-24 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890-8580, Japan
2Institute for Externalization of Gifts and Talents (EGT), 7421-1 Shimofukumoto-cho, Kagoshima 891-0144, Japan

Received 25 March 2013; Accepted 11 April 2013

Academic Editors: A. Martinuzzi, D. Mathieu, and A. K. Petridis

Copyright © 2013 Shinji Ijichi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), autistic characteristics in social interaction and communication are described as qualitative impairments. However, the difference between autistics and nonautistics in the draft of the 5th edition (DSM-5 draft) is quantitative rather than qualitative. The word “qualitative” is deleted in the draft text, and it is specified that the relation between social demands and individual limited capacities is critical for symptom manifestation (criterion C). Because the proposed levels of support requirement in the draft are mere observable outcomes of social vulnerability, the boundary between level 1 and nonautistic condition is determined by the relation between social demands and individual capacities. In addition to the introduction of the single category (autism spectrum disorder (ASD)) to cover the entire case spectrum, the DSM-5 draft is clearly based on a conviction that ASD is indistinguishable from the normal behavioral range. This concise review provides an explanation for this implicit paradigm shift from qualitative to quantitative. Importantly, the conditional role of social demands for symptom manifestation in the draft can be plausibly interpreted using a unique liability-probability model.