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What Can Be Learned From Taxometric Analyses?

Authors

  • Thomas A. Widiger

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Kentucky
      Address correspondence to Thomas A. Widiger, Department of Psychology, 115 Kastle Hall, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506–0044. E-mail: widiger@pop.uky.edu
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Address correspondence to Thomas A. Widiger, Department of Psychology, 115 Kastle Hall, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506–0044. E-mail: widiger@pop.uky.edu

Abstract

Taxometric analyses can be useful in indicating that a particular set of beliefs, attitudes, feelings, or behaviors have coherence as manifest class taxa. However, there is little reason to believe that taxometric analyses identify latent class taxa with specific etiologies, pathologies, or treatment implications. Taxometric analyses can, in fact, be quite misleading if their results are taken too seriously. Mental disorders are most likely the result of polygenetic dispositions and multifactorial etiologies. The optimal understanding of the etiology, pathology, and treatment of mental disorders is more likely to be multifactorial than taxonic.

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