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  ISSN 2043-8087
 Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
   
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  Volume 2, Issue 2, 170-196, 2011

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Performing Taxometric Analysis to Distinguish Categorical and Dimensional Variables
By John Ruscio (a), Ayelet Meron Ruscio (b), Lauren M. Carney (a)
(a) The College of New Jersey
(b) University of Pennsylvania

Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011, Pages 170-196
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.010910

Abstract
A fundamental question facing clinical scientists is whether the constructs they are studying are categorical or dimensional in nature. The taxometric method was developed expressly to answer this question and is being used by a growing number of investigators to inform theory, research, and practice in psychopathology. The current paper provides a practical introduction to the method, updating earlier tutorials based on the findings of recent methodological studies. We offer revised guidelines for data requirements, indicator selection, parameter estimation, and procedure selection and implementation. We illustrate our recommended approach to taxometric analysis using idealized data sets as well as data sets representative of those found in clinical research. We close with advice to help newcomers get started on their own taxometric analyses.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Reasons to Distinguish Categorical and Dimensional Variables
Characteristics of the Taxometric Method
Data Requirements
  Sample Size
  Size of the Putative Taxon
  Number of Indicators
  Number of Ordered Categories
  Indicator Validity
  Within-Group Correlations
Data Management and Reporting Parameter Estimates
Taxometric Procedures
  MAMBAC
    Illustration.
    Implementation.
  MAXCOV
    MAXEIG.
    MAXSLOPE.
    Selecting a Procedure.
    Illustration.
    Implementation.
  L-Mode
    Illustration.
    Implementation.
  Consistency Testing
Concluding Remarks on Getting Started
References

Correspondence to
John Ruscio, The College of New Jersey, P. O. Box 7718, Ewing, NJ 08628

Keywords
Taxometric analysis, categories, dimensions, model comparison

Dates
Received 3 Aug 2010; Revised 1 Nov 2010; Accepted 2 Nov 2010






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