1932

Abstract

Is there a clear line between normal and abnormal mood? Studies of manifest and latent structure provide strong support for a continuum that extends from asymptomatic to subsyndromal to syndromal cases of increasing severity. Subsyndromal symptoms are impairing, predict syndrome onset and relapse, and account for more doctor's visits and suicide attempts than the full syndromes, yet they are not recognized in the current classification. For most research and some clinical activities, dimensional diagnoses are recommended, and examples are offered for how such diagnoses could be made. For clinical activities requiring decisions, a multithreshold model is proposed in which both lower (e.g., mild depression, capturing subsyndromal cases) and upper (e.g., major depression, capturing clinically significant cases) diagnostic categories are used to inform clinical care. Beyond its implications for diagnosis, the dimensionality of depression and anxiety has implications for etiology and for research aimed at understanding how emotions become disrupted in psychopathology.

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2019-05-07
2024-06-22
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