The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Project and Studies of Risk and Resilience in Maltreated Children

Joan Kaufman, Joel Gelernter, James J. Hudziak, Audrey R. Tyrka, Jeremy D. Coplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objective The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project was initiated to develop, for research purposes, new ways of classifying mental disorders based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures. This article reviews the rationale behind the RDoC program, its goals, and central tenets; discusses application of an RDoC framework to research with maltreated children; and highlights some clinical implications of this work. Method Published RDoC papers were reviewed, together with relevant preclinical and clinical studies that guide our work on risk and resilience in maltreated children. Results The ultimate long-term goal of the RDoC initiative is precision medicine in psychiatry. In the interim, the RDoC initiative provides a framework to organize research to help develop the database required to derive a new psychiatric nomenclature that can appropriately match treatments to patients. The primary focus of RDoC is on neural circuitry, with levels of analyses that span from molecules to behavior. There has been some concern that the RDoC framework is reductionist, with an overemphasis on neural circuits and genetics; however, the briefly reviewed, burgeoning literature on neuroplasticity and epigenetics highlights that this concern is unwarranted, as one cannot study neural circuits and genetics without considering experience. Conclusion The study of maltreated children has a number of advantages for the RDoC project, including the following: study of a subset of patients who are often not responsive to standard interventions; examination of a relatively homogenous sample with onset of psychopathology proposed to be associated with stress-related mechanisms; and well-established, relevant animal models to facilitate translational research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1230
Pages (from-to)617-625
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume54
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Key Words RDoC
  • maltreated children
  • risk and resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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