Mapping Research Domain Criteria using a transdiagnostic mini-RDoC assessment in mental disorders: a confirmatory factor analysis

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2023 Apr;273(3):527-539. doi: 10.1007/s00406-022-01440-6. Epub 2022 Jul 1.


This study aimed to build on the relationship of well-established self-report and behavioral assessments to the latent constructs positive (PVS) and negative valence systems (NVS), cognitive systems (CS), and social processes (SP) of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework in a large transnosological population which cuts across DSM/ICD-10 disorder criteria categories. One thousand four hundred and thirty one participants (42.1% suffering from anxiety/fear-related, 18.2% from depressive, 7.9% from schizophrenia spectrum, 7.5% from bipolar, 3.4% from autism spectrum, 2.2% from other disorders, 18.4% healthy controls, and 0.2% with no diagnosis specified) recruited in studies within the German research network for mental disorders for the Phenotypic, Diagnostic and Clinical Domain Assessment Network Germany (PD-CAN) were examined with a Mini-RDoC-Assessment including behavioral and self-report measures. The respective data was analyzed with confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to delineate the underlying latent RDoC-structure. A revised four-factor model reflecting the core domains positive and negative valence systems as well as cognitive systems and social processes showed a good fit across this sample and showed significantly better fit compared to a one factor solution. The connections between the domains PVS, NVS and SP could be substantiated, indicating a universal latent structure spanning across known nosological entities. This study is the first to give an impression on the latent structure and intercorrelations between four core Research Domain Criteria in a transnosological sample. We emphasize the possibility of using already existing and well validated self-report and behavioral measurements to capture aspects of the latent structure informed by the RDoC matrix.

Keywords: Confirmatory factor analysis CFA; Diagnosis and classification; PD-CAN; RDoC; Research Domain Criteria; Transdiagnostic.

MeSH terms

  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnosis