Transdiagnostic approaches to psychopathology measurement: Recommendations for measure selection, data analysis, and participant recruitment
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
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© 2019 American Psychological Association. Transdiagnostic frameworks such as the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) and Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) offer an exciting future for psychopathology research but may pose measurement and data analytic challenges because historically researchers have often relied on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to guide psychopathology assessment. We address these challenges by providing recommendations for (a) measure selection, (b) data analysis, and (c) participant recruitment when conducting research from a transdiagnostic, dimensional perspective. Examples presented demonstrate how both broad psychopathology spectra and specific symptom dimensions can be assessed efficiently via interview, informant, and self-rated methods. Using these dimensional assessment approaches rather than DSM categories can enhance precision when examining symptom relations for RDoC mechanisms and in treatment contexts. Additionally, alternative strategies to using DSM diagnostic status for participant selection can expedite study recruitment and maximize sample sizes. Thus, incorporating these recommendations can streamline research and improve measurement in many ways. We hope that these guidelines will facilitate integration among different transdiagnostic frameworks that have emerged to address limitations of the DSM.