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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Taxometric methods were developed to ascertain which behavioral traits—particularly psychiatric syndromes—comprise discrete latent classes. Although individual differences in most forms of psychopathology are likely distributed along continua, knowing which are typologal may have significant implications for diagnostic precision, treatment development, early identification of latent vulnerability to psychopathology, and improved understanding of etiology. In practice, however, distinguishing types from continua has proved difficult because most behavioral measures include several sources of error, which obscures true scores. Furthermore, conflicting results have often been reported by different research groups studying the same or similar traits. This has led some authors to question the utility of taxometrics. In this chapter, I (1) outline the conceptual bases of taxometrics, (2) provide descriptions of several taxometric procedures, (3) discuss strategies for selecting valid indicator variables, (4) provide brief example analyses, and (5) discuss common pitfalls of the taxometric approach. Despite certain limitations, careful attention to the types of variables subjected to taxometric analysis can produce valid and replicable results.

Keywords: Taxometrics, classification, MAMBAC, MAXCOV, MAXEIG, L-Mode

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