How are mental disorders and self-harming behaviors optimally classified and conceptualized? My interest in classification stems from my research with John Ruscio in taxometric analysis. To faciliate statistical tests of whether disorders are categorical or dimensional in nature, we wrote an R package for taxometric analysis, RTaxometrics (available on CRAN).
However, rather than viewing mental disorders as emerging from a latent cause, recent models have also described disorders as complex interactions between symptoms. My work in this area has used network models to examine how symptoms can influence, maintain, and interact with each other, as well as to identify the symptoms that are most central to a disorder.