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Definition of Diagnosis


Updated September 20, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


A psychiatric diagnosis indicates that the nature and source of a person's abnormal behavior has been determined, and his behavior pattern has been classified within an accepted diagnostic system.

For a child receiving a major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnosis, the classification system is the DSM-IV.

A diagnosis of childhood depression may be determined through psychological testing.


Robert J. Gregory. Psychological Testing: History, Principles, and Applications, 4th Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Group, Inc.; 2004.

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