Contemporary Psychopathology Diagnosis

Christopher C. Conway, Lee Anna Clark, Robert F. Krueger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Diagnosis and classification for mental disorder are in flux. This transition has downstream consequences on the nature of clinical assessment in research and treatment settings. We begin this chapter by describing the prevailing categorical rubrics, which are the predominant guide to clinical assessment worldwide. These systems, despite their popularity, suffer from serious defects, which have prompted the development of alternate frameworks for conceptualization and assessment of psychopathology. We focus the remainder of the chapter on two prominent contenders to supplement, and perhaps eventually supplant, traditional categorical models. The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology is an empirically derived system of the phenotypic dimensions of psychopathology and the Research Domain Criteria represent a biologically oriented approach to understanding risk processes implicated in mental disorder. We describe the promise and challenges facing these two emerging systems, and we speculate about how they will shape the future of clinical assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781108235433
ISBN (Print)9781108415910
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2020.


  • classification
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
  • Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP)
  • nosology
  • Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)


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