Allen J. Frances (born 1942 in New York City, New York) is an American psychiatrist. Frances’ early career was spent at Cornell University Medical College where he rose to the rank of professor. In 1991, he became chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine. Frances was the founding editor of two well-known journals: the Journal of Personality Disorders and the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.
Frances chaired the task force that produced the fourth revision of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) and became critical of the current version, DSM-5. He warned that the expanding boundary of psychiatry is causing a diagnostic inflation that is swallowing up normality and that the over-treatment of the «worried well» is distracting attention from the core mission of treating the more severely ill. In 2013, Frances said that «psychiatric diagnosis still relies exclusively on fallible subjective judgments rather than objective biological tests».