Data Science in the Research Domain Criteria Era: Relevance of Machine Learning to the Study of Stress Pathology, Recovery, and Resilience

Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). Jan-Dec 2018;2:2470547017747553. doi: 10.1177/2470547017747553. Epub 2018 Jan 10.


Diverse environmental and biological systems interact to influence individual differences in response to environmental stress. Understanding the nature of these complex relationships can enhance the development of methods to: (1) identify risk, (2) classify individuals as healthy or ill, (3) understand mechanisms of change, and (4) develop effective treatments. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative provides a theoretical framework to understand health and illness as the product of multiple inter-related systems but does not provide a framework to characterize or statistically evaluate such complex relationships. Characterizing and statistically evaluating models that integrate multiple levels (e.g. synapses, genes, environmental factors) as they relate to outcomes that a free from prior diagnostic benchmarks represents a challenge requiring new computational tools that are capable to capture complex relationships and identify clinically relevant populations. In the current review, we will summarize machine learning methods that can achieve these goals.

Keywords: Computational Psychiatry; Data Science; Machine Learning; RDoc; Resilience; Stress; Stress Pathology.