For more than a century, research on psychopathology has focused on categorical diagnoses. Although this work has produced major discoveries, growing evidence points to the superiority of a dimensional approach to the science of mental illness. Here we outline one such dimensional system—the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP)—that is based on empirical patterns of co-occurrence among psychological symptoms. We highlight key ways in which this framework can advance mental-health research, and we provide some heuristics for using HiTOP to test theories of psychopathology. We then review emerging evidence that supports the value of a hierarchical, dimensional model of mental illness across diverse research areas in psychological science. These new data suggest that the HiTOP system has the potential to accelerate and improve research on mental-health problems as well as efforts to more effectively assess, prevent, and treat mental illness.
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