MARCH 18TH | 2:15 PM - 3:45 (ET)

Session Abstract: The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) consortium has proposed an alternative, evidence-based, and dimensional classification for psychopathology that focuses on the empirical structure of psychopathology rather than consensus judgements of psychiatric experts. HiTOP promises to provide psychometrically robust targets for research and clinical practice, but this promise cannot be fully realized until HiTOP-specific measures are developed. To that end, in this symposium we present the current status of efforts by the HiTOP Measurement Development Workgroup to build such measures. The symposium will include six presentations. First, Leonard Simms will introduce the HiTOP model and describe the measurement principles and practices on which HiTOP measures are being developed. Second, David Watson will describe the development and initial validation of measures of internalizing psychopathology, which has resulted in a provisional set of 35 scales that encompass all major forms of internalizing. Third, Marin Sellbom will detail the development of constructs and associated scales in the comprehensive assessment of eating pathology and somatization. Results thus far have indicated 4 candidate scales for somatization and 6 candidate scales for eating pathology. Fourth, David Cicero will describe the initial development of a measure for the HiTOP thought disorders spectrum, which includes provisional scales tapping both psychosis traits and symptoms. Fifth, Stephanie Mullins-Sweat will describe the efforts to build measures of both disinhibited and antagonistic externalizing psychopathology. Finally, Johannes Zimmermann will present the assessment results of the HiTOP detachment workgroup. Following all presentations, the Chair will guide discussion with the audience regarding all presentations and the clinical assessment implications of HiTOP more generally.

Chair Information: Leonard Simms, PhD | University at Buffalo

Presentation 1 Title: Introduction to the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) and the Principles and Practices of the Measurement Workgroup


Leonard Simms, PhD | University at Buffalo

Aidan Wright, PhD | University of Pittsburgh

Presentation 2 Title: Internalizing Psychopathology: Structure and Correlations with Personality

Presentation Abstract: The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) consortium currently is developing a comprehensive self-report measure of psychopathology. I will present results that were collected for the internalizing portion of this project. The item pool was created in four steps: (a) clarifying the range of content to be assessed; (b) identifying target constructs to guide item writing; (c) developing formal definitions for each construct; and (d) writing multiple items for each construct. This yielded 430 items assessing 57 target constructs. Responses from a heterogeneous scale development sample (N = 1,870) were subjected to item-level factor analyses based on polychoric correlations. This resulted in 39 scales representing a total of 213 items. The psychometric properties of these scales replicated well across the development sample and an independent validation sample (N = 496 adults). Internal consistency analyses established that most scales assess relatively narrow forms of psychopathology. Structural analyses demonstrated the presence of a strong general factor. Additional analyses of the 35 non-sexual dysfunction scales revealed a replicable four-factor structure with dimensions that could be labeled Distress, Fear, Body Dysmorphia, and Mania. A final set of analyses established that the internalizing scales varied widely in the strength of their associations with neuroticism and extraversion.


David Watson, PhD | University of Notre Dame

Presentation 3 Title: Measurement of Somatization and Eating Pathology


Martin Sellbom, PhD | University of Otago

Presentation 4 Title: Measurement of the Thought Disorders Spectrum of HiTOP


David Cicero, PhD | University of North Texas

Katherine Jonas, PhD | Stony Brook University

Roman Kotov, PhD | Stony Brook University

Presentation 5 Title: Developing Measures to Assess Antagonistic and Disinhibited Externalizing Psychopathology


Stephanie Mullins-Sweatt, PhD | Oklahoma State University

Presentation 6 Title: Developing Preliminary Scales for Assessing the HiTOP Detachment Spectrum


Johannes Zimmermann, PhD | University of Kassel

Tom Widiger, PhD | University of Kentucky

Dr. David Watson

David Watson is a personality psychologist with expertise in personality and clinical assessment. His work investigates the structure and measurement of personality, affect, and psychopathology, as well as examining how personality traits relate to clinical disorders. He works in a variety of substantive areas within psychopathology, including depression, the anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania, the personality disorders, and dissociation. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop comprehensive taxonomic models that integrate normal-range and pathological processes into a single overarching scheme. He served as an Advisor to the DSM-IV Anxiety Disorders Workgroup and to the DSM-5 Personality and Personality Disorders Workgroup. From 2006-2011, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. In 2015, he was one of three founding members (with Roman Kotov and Robert Krueger) of the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) consortium.

Dr. Martin Sellbom

Martin Sellbom is a Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2007 from Kent State University. His research focuses on psychopathy and other personality disorders, the integration of personality and psychopathology, and personality assessment with the MMPI instruments. Prof Sellbom's work has been featured in about 250 publications and he has co-authored a book on the forensic applications of the MMPI-2-RF (published by the University of Minnesota Press). He has won several awards, including the American Psychological Foundation’s Theodore Millon mid-career award for advancing personality science, American Psychology-Law Society’s Saleem Shah Award and Society for Personality Assessment’s Samuel and Anne Beck Award for early career achievement. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Personality Assessment. For his clinical practice, Prof Sellbom specializes in forensic psychological evaluations.

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