The National Institute of Mental Health's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework has prompted a paradigm shift from categorical psychiatric disorders to considering multiple levels of vulnerability for probabilistic risk of disorder. However, the lack of neurodevelopmentally based tools for clinical decision making has limited the real-world impact of the RDoC. Integration with developmental psychopathology principles and statistical methods actualize the clinical implementation of RDoC to inform neurodevelopmental risk. In this conceptual paper, we introduce the probabilistic mental health risk calculator as an innovation for such translation and lay out a research agenda for generating an RDoC-and developmentally informed paradigm that could be applied to predict a range of developmental psychopathologies from early childhood to young adulthood. We discuss methods that weigh the incremental utility for prediction based on intensity and burden of assessment, the addition of developmental change patterns, considerations for assessing outcomes, and integrative data approaches. Throughout, we illustrate the risk calculator approach with different neurodevelopmental pathways and phenotypes. Finally, we discuss real-world implementation of these methods for improving early identification and prevention of developmental psychopathology. We propose that mental health risk calculators can build a needed bridge between the RDoC multiple units of analysis and developmental science.
- developmental change
- risk calculator