Toward a dimensional and psychometrically-informed approach to conceptualizing psychopathology

Robert F. Krueger, Thomas M. Piasecki

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137 Scopus citations


Most modern research on psychopathology is framed by the categorical model of mental disorders embodied in the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Nevertheless, the categorical model of the DSM is incompatible with robust empirical observations about psychopathological variation, such as the tendency for multiple, putatively distinct mental disorders to occur in the same persons. The goal of this invited essay is to outline a potential alternative to the DSM's categorical approach: a dimensional and psychometrically-informed approach to conceptualizing and studying psychopathology. We discuss the advantages of the dimensional approach, some modern statistical technologies that can be recruited in the service of the dimensional approach, and ways of integrating the dimensional approach with a behavioral approach to psychopathology assessment and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-499
Number of pages15
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Robert F. Krueger was supported by National Institute of Mental Health grant MH65137. Thomas M. Piasecki was supported by a grant from the University of Missouri Research Board. We thank Kristian Markon for his helpful comments on a previous draft.


  • Behavioral assessment
  • Comorbidity
  • Dimensional models
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychopathology


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