After months of vigorous opposition by feminist groups, the American Psychiatric Association announced today that its trustees had approved the addition of three new psychiatric disorders to its official diagnostic manual, but only in an appendix.
The three disorders would describe women with premenstrual syndrome, individuals with ''self-defeating'' personalities and people with sadistic personalities.
Opponents say diagnoses of such disorders would offer a legal defense to wife beaters and child abusers and would stigmatize women with menstrual problems.
The board's action appeared to be a compromise that would, for the first time, describe the disorders in the association's authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders but would give them less prominence than disorders already listed, such as schizophrenia or depression. Dispute Likely to Continue. However, the compromise appeared unlikely to please either feminists, who had opposed any recognition of the new disorders, or the association's own experts, who had argued for full-fledged acceptance of them.
Indeed, Dr. Robert Spitzer, a New York psychiatrist who led a working group that proposed adding all three disorders to the main text of the manual, said today that the board had ''equivocated'' in the face of opposition from feminists who had written letters or signed petitions opposing the proposed new diagnostic categories.
Dr. Spitzer said that only these three of the more than 200 changes proposed for the manual had excited opposition from outside the profession. He said there was opposition to the category initially labeled ''premenstrual dysphoric disorder,'' which described depression, irritability and mood changes related to premenstrual syndrome.
Feminists complained that such a diagnosis would unjustly stigmatize women with menstrual problems as psychiatrically disturbed when their problems might be more biological. Disorder's Name Changed
The A.P.A. board, with the agreement of the working group, agreed to change the name to ''periluteal phase dysphoric disorder,'' a label considered technically more accurate.
Various feminists also argued against the new ''self-defeating personality disorder,'' describing individuals who seek situations in which they can be mistreated or fail. They said it might be wrongly used to describe people who are trapped, through no fault of their own, in abusive situations. Still others opposed the new ''sadistic personality disorder'' on the ground that it might provide a legal defense for wife beaters and child abusers. Both the board and the work group also agreed to delete ''ego-dystonic homosexuality,'' a disorder that is now in the manual, on the ground that it lacks scientific validity. It is the only description of any form of homosexuality left in the manual since the association ruled that homosexuality in general was not a mental disorder. It refers to homosexuals who persistently desire to form heterosexual relationships but cannot because only homosexual relationships arouse them. The category had been opposed by homosexual groups.
Dr. Robert O. Pasnau, the association's president, said in a statement today that the expert groups had formulated their recommendations on scientific grounds, whereas the board's decisions ''must take into consideration the social and legal impact of the incorporation of these proposed aditions and changes into the manual, as well as their potential for abuse."**A version of this article appears in print on July 2, 1986, Section A, Page 14 of the New York Times.