Delirium in the Medically Ill Elderly: Operationalizing the DSM-III Criteria

Gary L. Gottlieb, Jerry Johnson, Christine Wanich, Eileen Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


. This prospective study determined the incidence and prevalence of delirium in 235 consecutive subjects over age 70 admitted to a general medicine hospital service. The DSM-III criteria for delirium were operationalized. Using accepted screening procedures, patients were referred for evaluation by a psychiatrist who determined whether delirium was present by applying explicit operational definitions to each of the DSM-III criteria. Data on presence and severity of each of the DSM-III symptoms were recorded. Analysis of these data indicates that the DSM-III criteria describe a discrete, recognizable syndrome. However, some of the symptoms are more specific than others in identifying the syndrome in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-196
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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