Dimensional Measurement and Intervention Program

Overview

This program supports research to develop and refine measures of basic dimensions of functioning (e.g., fear circuitry, working memory, arousal, emotion regulation) relevant to traditionally defined or perceived posttraumatic psychopathology as well as other often comorbid traditionally defined disorders where there is observable evidence of shared abnormalities at one or more levels of analysis (e.g., neurobiological, genetic, behavioral). Applications responsive to this program should apply emerging knowledge about genetics, brain circuitry and functioning, as well as behavior to aid in characterizing posttraumatic disorders. Further, applications may seek to validate approaches to assessing dysregulated/dysfunctional brain and behavioral functions, structures, connections, and processes that are predictive of symptoms and/or implicated in etiology or persistence of disorder or alternatively predictive of treatment responsiveness. Applications might also include tests of interventions targeting well-measured dysregulation/dysfunction to assess behavioral and neurobiological changes.

While NIMH is supporting this area of research, the Institute also recognizes that current patients and their families need and are deserving of research into their conditions, as currently assessed and diagnosed, that can yield new information to render mental health service programs as responsive as possible (see the Traumatic Stress Research Program). The Dimensional Measurement and Intervention Program is not intended to supplant these efforts but is intended to facilitate the transition from traditional clinical categories to the dimensional and mechanism-based approach embodied by the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project and to achieve the goal of developing a research classification system informed by genetics, neuroscience, and behavior.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Developing new ways of classifying posttraumatic mental disorders based on observable dimensions of behavior and neurobiological measures.
  • Defining disorder subtypes based on new knowledge about genetics, brain functioning, and behavior.
  • Comparing patients who differ on symptom clusters or other indices of brain and behavioral functioning as well as those who fall just short of meeting usual diagnostic criteria to determine the types and severity of behavioral and/or neurobiological deficits that are associated with a putative biomarker.
  • Investigating symptom clusters in terms of genes, behaviors, brain structures, connections, functions, and processes to refine measurement and promote development of more targeted treatments.
  • Piloting translational intervention studies targeting well measured dysregulated/dysfunctional circuits, processes, and behaviors to assess behavioral and neurobiological changes.

See also the Traumatic Stress Research Program.

Contact

Susan Borja, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7125, MSC 9632
301-443-1252, susan.borja@nih.gov