Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 45–65

Diagnosis, assessment, and comorbidity in psychosocial treatment research

  • Thomas M. Achenbach

DOI: 10.1007/BF01447044

Cite this article as:
Achenbach, T.M. J Abnorm Child Psychol (1995) 23: 45. doi:10.1007/BF01447044


This paper identifies problems in prevailing terminology and conceptual models that may hinder research on treatment. To avoid the multiple meanings of diagnosis,the term assessmentis used in reference to identifying the distinguishing features of individual cases, while taxonomyis used to designate the grouping of cases according to their distinguishing features. Treatment research requires clear specification of the behavioral/emotional problems and competencies targeted for intervention. Artifactual comorbidity can be avoided by specifying treatment targets at several levels, including competencies, specific problems, syndromes, profiles of syndrome scores, and global problem scores. To select subjects for treatment research and to evaluate outcomes, multisource data can be coordinated by using a cross-informant computer program, taxonomic decision tree, and averaging of multisource standard scores.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Achenbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA