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date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Assessment is at the very core of clinical and research endeavors to understand and ameliorate depressive disorders. In the current chapter, we discuss pressing issues in assessment of depressive disorders beginning with the definitional: how these disorders are conceptualized and classified. We highlight the DSM-IV-TR nosological organization of depressive disorders, and those disorders that are closely related (e.g., anxiety and adjustment disorders), as well as current depressive disorder proposals for the upcoming DSM-5. The high rates of comorbidity among the depressive and related disorders are discussed as an assessment challenge, and we propose a unified latent structure framework to supplement clinical assessment that involves characterizing individuals’ levels of underlying internalizing disorder liability. We discuss how disorders, and the latent internalizing liability, may manifest differently across subpopulations, such as age and ethnicity/culture. Finally, we discuss psychometric issues and conclude with a list of critical unanswered questions in depressive disorder assessment.

Keywords: assessment, depressive disorders, depression, comorbidity, internalizing, neuroticism

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