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The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) has emerged out of the quantitative approach to psychiatric nosology. This approach identifies psychopathology constructs based on patterns of co-variation among signs and symptoms. The initial HiTOP model, which was published in 2017, is based on a large literature that spans decades of research. HiTOP is a living model that undergoes revision as new data become available. Here we discuss advantages and practical considerations of using this system in psychiatric practice and research. We especially highlight limitations of HiTOP and ongoing efforts to address them. We describe differences and similarities between HiTOP and existing diagnostic systems. Next, we review the types of evidence that informed development of HiTOP, including populations in which it has been studied and data on its validity. The paper also describes how HiTOP can facilitate research on genetic and environmental causes of psychopathology as well as the search for neurobiologic mechanisms and novel treatments. Furthermore, we consider implications for public health programs and prevention of mental disorders. We also review data on clinical utility and illustrate clinical application of HiTOP. Importantly, the model is based on measures and practices that are already used widely in clinical settings. HiTOP offers a way to organize and formalize these techniques. This model already can contribute to progress in psychiatry and complement traditional nosologies. Moreover, HiTOP seeks to facilitate research on linkages between phenotypes and biological processes, which may enable construction of a system that encompasses both biomarkers and precise clinical description.
Background: Individuals with bipolar disorder often endorse dysfunctional beliefs consistent with cognitive models of bipolar disorder (Beck, 1976; Mansell, 2007). Aims: The present study sought to assess whether young adult offspring of those with bipolar disorder would also endorse these beliefs, independent of their own mood episode history. Method: Participants (N = 89) were young adult college students with a parent with bipolar disorder (n = 27), major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 30), or no mood disorder (n = 32). Semi-structured interviews of the offspring were used to assess diagnoses. Dysfunctional beliefs related to Beck and colleagues’ (2006) and Mansell's (2007) cognitive models were assessed. Results: Unlike offspring of parents with MDD or no mood disorder, those with a parent with bipolar disorder endorsed significantly more dysfunctional cognitions associated with extreme appraisal of mood states, even after controlling for their own mood diagnosis. Once affected by a bipolar or depressive disorder, offspring endorsed dysfunctional cognitions across measures. Conclusions: Dysfunctional cognitions, particularly those related to appraisals of mood states and their potential consequences, are evident in young adults with a parent who has bipolar disorder and may represent targets for psychotherapeutic intervention.
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