Linking RDoC and HiTOP: A new interface for advancing psychiatric nosology and neuroscience

Giorgia Michelini, Isabella M. Palumbo, Colin G. DeYoung, Robert D. Latzman, Roman Kotov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) and the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) represent major dimensional frameworks proposing two alternative approaches to accelerate progress in the way psychopathology is studied, classified, and treated. RDoC is a research framework rooted in neuroscience aiming to further the understanding of transdiagnostic biobehavioral systems underlying psychopathology and ultimately inform future classifications. HiTOP is a dimensional classification system, derived from the observed covariation among symptoms of psychopathology and maladaptive traits, which seeks to provide more informative research and treatment targets (i.e., dimensional constructs and clinical assessments) than traditional diagnostic categories. This article argues that the complementary strengths of RDoC and HiTOP can be leveraged in order to achieve their respective goals. RDoC's biobehavioral framework may help elucidate the underpinnings of the clinical dimensions included in HiTOP, whereas HiTOP may provide psychometrically robust clinical targets for RDoC-informed research. We present a comprehensive mapping between dimensions included in RDoC (constructs and subconstructs) and HiTOP (spectra and subfactors) based on narrative review of the empirical literature. The resulting RDoC-HiTOP interface sheds light on the biobehavioral correlates of clinical dimensions and provides a broad set of dimensional clinical targets for etiological and neuroscientific research. We conclude with future directions and practical recommendations for using this interface to advance clinical neuroscience and psychiatric nosology. Ultimately, we envision that this RDoC-HiTOP interface has the potential to inform the development of a unified, dimensional, and biobehaviorally-grounded psychiatric nosology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102025
JournalClinical Psychology Review
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Michelini was funded by a NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (grant number 28566 ). Dr. Kotov was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (grant number R01MH122537 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


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