In this commentary, we discuss questions and misconceptions about the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) raised by Haeffel et al. We explain what the system classifies and why it is descriptive and atheoretical, and we highlight benefits and limitations of this approach. We clarify why the system is organized according to patterns of covariation or comorbidity among signs and symptoms of psychopathology, and we discuss how it is designed to be falsifiable and revised in a manner that is responsive to data. We refer to the body of evidence for HiTOP’s external validity and for its scientific and clinical utility. We further describe how the system is currently used in clinics. In sum, many of Haeffel et al.’s concerns about HiTOP are unwarranted, and for those concerns that reflect real current limitations of HiTOP, our consortium is working to address them, with the aim of creating a nosology that is comprehensive and useful to both scientists and clinicians.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant R01-MH122537.
The following members of Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology consortium endorsed the positions described in this commentary: Timothy Allen, Bo Bach, Michael Chmielewski, Barbara De Clercq, Anna Docherty, Andrea Fossati, Kristen Gainey, John D. Haltigan, Benjamin Hankin, Phillip Homan, Chris Hopwood, Hyunsik Kim, Holly Levin-Aspenson, Julia Longenecker, Elizabeth Martin, Leslie Morey, Brady Nelson, Jason Oliver, Christopher Patrick, Aaron Pincus, Eunyoe Ro, Michael Roche, Lauren Rutter, Liam Satchell, Martin Sellbom, Alexander Shackman, Antonella Somma, Kasey Stanton, Matthew Sunderland, Jeggan Tiego, Ashley Watts, Sylia Wilson, David Zald, and Richard Zinbarg. This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant R01-MH122537.
© The Author(s) 2021.
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