Developing Preliminary Scales for Assessing the HiTOP Detachment Spectrum

Johannes Zimmermann, Thomas A. Widiger, Lara Oeltjen, Christopher C. Conway, Leslie C. Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) is an empirical-based classification of psychopathology. Detachment is one of the six spectra in the current HiTOP working model. The aim of this study was to develop preliminary scales for the HiTOP Detachment spectrum that can be used in the next phase of developing a comprehensive measure of HiTOP. We had 456 participants from MTurk (Sample 1) and 266 university students (Sample 2) complete an online survey including a pool of 247 Detachment items assessing 15 consensually defined low-order constructs. Using a stepwise procedure involving factor analyses and ant colony optimization methods, we developed seven 8-item scales that capture unipolar facets of Detachment: anhedonia, suspiciousness, social withdrawal, intimacy avoidance, unassertiveness, risk aversion, and restricted affectivity. Three other 8-item scales emerged that tapped into a Maladaptive Extraversion construct (attention-seeking, thrill-seeking, and domineering), which was mostly unrelated to unipolar Detachment in factor analyses. The 10 scales were unidimensional, reliable, and showed some evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. We discuss challenges of assessing Detachment when moving forward with developing a comprehensive measure of HiTOP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology
  • ant colony optimization
  • detachment
  • extraversion
  • factor analysis
  • personality
  • scale construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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