Research on psychopathology is at a historical crossroads. New technologies offer the promise of lasting advances in our understanding of the causes of human psychological suffering. Making the best use of these technologies, however, requires an empirically accurate model of psychopathology. Much current research is framed by the model of psychopathology portrayed in current versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM; b3American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Although the modern DSMs have been fundamental in advancing psychopathology research, recent research also challenges some assumptions made in the DSM - for example, the assumption that all forms of psychopathology are well conceived of as discrete categories. Psychological science has a critical role to play in working through the implications of this research and the challenges it presents. In particular, behavior-genetic, personality, and quantitative-psychological research perspectives can be melded to inform the development of an empirically based model of psychopathology that would constitute an evolution of the DSM.
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Preparation of this paper was supported in part by U.S. Public Health Service Grant MH65137.