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Developing an RDoC Study

Research using “RDoC-ian” principles focuses on the investigation of targeted biological, physiological, and behavioral elements that comprise mental health and illness rather than on the investigation of heterogeneous symptom-based diagnostic disorders. The overarching goals of RDoC research are to contribute to a more precise understanding of – and thus better assessment, treatment, and prevention of – mental disorders.

RDoC promotes studies that:

  • Examine psychological constructs (or concepts) relevant to psychopathology, rather than focusing on mental disorder categories only.
  • Study constructs by assessing and integrating a variety of both biological and behavioral measures.
  • Analyze constructs dimensionally, along a spectrum of functioning, irrespective of current boundaries of mental disorders.
  • Emphasize neurodevelopmental trajectories and environmental influences in studying aspects of functional behavior and pertinent biological systems.

RDoC-based studies can involve original data collection, or the analysis of data collected and shared by other researchers.

Further, the National Institute of Mental Health Data Archive (NDA), is a data repository created for the sharing and collection of data – including data related to the RDoC initiative. This database also accepts human-subject data related to all fields of mental health research. Both NIMH funded researchers and non-NIMH funded researchers are welcome to deposit and access data.