ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 2, Issue 2, 170-196, 2011
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Performing Taxometric Analysis to Distinguish Categorical and Dimensional Variables

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

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
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
    Selecting a Procedure.
  Consistency Testing
Concluding Remarks on Getting Started

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

Taxometric analysis, categories, dimensions, model comparison

Received 3 Aug 2010; Revised 1 Nov 2010; Accepted 2 Nov 2010; In Press 5 May 2011

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