A Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology Can Transform Mental Health Research


Christopher C. Conway, College of William & Mary
Miriam K. Forbes, Macquarie University
Kelsie T. Forbush, University of Kansas
Eiko I. Fried, University of Amsterdam
Michael N. Hallquist, Pennsylvania State University
Roman Kotov, State University of New York
Stephanie N. Mullins-Sweatt, Oklahoma State University
Alexander J. Shackman, University of Maryland
Andrew E. Skodol, University of Arizona
Susan C. South, Purdue University
Matthew Sunderland, University of New South Wales
Monika A. Waszczuk, State University of New York
David H. Zald, Vanderbilt University
Mohammad H. Afzali, University of Montreal
Marina Bornovalova, University of South FloridaFollow
Natacha Carragher, University of New South Wales
Anna R. Docherty, University of Utah
Katherine G. Jonas, State University of New York
Robert F. Krueger, University of Minnesota
Praveetha Patalay, University of Liverpool
Aaron L. Pincus, Pennsylvania State University
Jennifer L. Tackett, Northwestern University
Ulrich Reininghaus, Maastricht University
Irwin D. Waldman, Emory University
Aidan G. Wright, University of Pittsburgh
Johannes Zimmermann, University of Kassel
Bo Bach, Slagelse Psychiatric Hospital
R. Michael Bagby, University of Toronto
Michael Chmielewski, Southern Methodist University
David C. Cicero, University of Hawaii
Lee Anna Clark, University of Notre Dame
Tim Dalgleish, Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Colin G. DeYoung, University of Minnesota
Christopher J. Hopwood, University of California
Masha Y. Ivanova, University of Vermont
Robert D. Latzman, Georgia State University
Christopher J. Patrick, Florida State University
Camilo J. Ruggero, University of North Texas
Douglas B. Samuel, Purdue University
David Watson, University of Notre Dame
Nicholas R. Eaton, Stony Brook University

Document Type


Publication Date



mental illness, nosology, individual differences, transdiagnostic, Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology, HiTOP, ICD, DSM, RDoC

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



For more than a century, research on psychopathology has focused on categorical diagnoses. Although this work has produced major discoveries, growing evidence points to the superiority of a dimensional approach to the science of mental illness. Here we outline one such dimensional system—the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP)—that is based on empirical patterns of co-occurrence among psychological symptoms. We highlight key ways in which this framework can advance mental-health research, and we provide some heuristics for using HiTOP to test theories of psychopathology. We then review emerging evidence that supports the value of a hierarchical, dimensional model of mental illness across diverse research areas in psychological science. These new data suggest that the HiTOP system has the potential to accelerate and improve research on mental-health problems as well as efforts to more effectively assess, prevent, and treat mental illness.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Perspectives on Psychological Science, v. 14, issue 3, p. 419-436