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How to Cite a Reference to the DSM in Text

by Grace Riley, Demand Media

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DMS, is an invaluable reference if you are writing a paper on mental illness, but to use this information you must attribute your content properly. The American Psychological Association and Modern Language Association both format in-text citations in two ways: conversationally and parenthetically. Both style manuals encourage writers to cite their references in conversation whenever possible since it is the least disruptive style.

    APA: Conversational

    Type the full title in italicized title case: Capitalize the first letters of every word in the title except “and” and “of.” Leave a space after the title and make an open parenthesis. Enter the publication year followed by a close parenthesis and period. Note the edition in Arabic numerals, followed by the ordinal designation. Leave a space and enter the abbreviation “ed.” Format all subsequent in-text citations with the abbreviated form of the title. For example: According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (italicized) (2013) 5th ed., attention deficit disorder is a learning disability. According to the DSM-5 (italicized) 5th ed., attention deficit disorder is a learning disability.

    APA: Parenthetical

    Make an open parenthesis. Note the edition of the medical reference in Arabic numerals followed by the ordinal designation. Leave a space and enter the abbreviation “ed.” and a semicolon. Leave another space and type the italicized title in title case. Spell it out on the first mention of the book; use the abbreviated title for all subsequent citations. Add a semicolon at the end of the title. Leave a space. Enter the name of the organization that wrote the DSM followed by a semicolon and space. Note the publication and add a close parenthesis. For example: Attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (5th ed.; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [italicized]; American Psychiatric Association; 2013). Attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (5th ed.; DSM-5 [italicized]; American Psychiatric Association; 2013).

    MLA: Conversational

    After the first mention of the book, type the full title in italicized title case: Capitalize the first letters of every word in the title except “and” and “of.” Make a space and an open parenthesis after the last word of the sourced content. Enter the page number for the sourced content. Add a close parenthesis. On all subsequent mentions, format the citation the same way but use the abbreviated title instead. If you accessed the source online, omit the parenthetical page number entry. For example: According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (italicized), attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (265). According to the DSM-5 (italicized), attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (265). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (italicized), attention deficit disorder is a learning disability.

    MLA: Parenthetical

    Make an open parenthesis. If it is the first in-text citation for the DSM, type the full title in italicized title case. If it is not the first citation, type the italicized abbreviation for the title. Leave a space then enter the page number for the sourced content. Add a close parenthesis. If you accessed the source online, omit the page number and only cite the DSM title. For example: Attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [italicized] 265). Attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (DSM-5 [italicized] 265). Attention deficit disorder is a learning disability (DSM-5).

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    About the Author

    Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

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