The British Journal of Psychiatry
Research on symptoms versus research on syndromes. Arguments in favour of allocating more research time to the study of symptoms.
C G Costello

Abstract

Research on symptoms may often be more fruitful than research on syndromes because: (a) the validities of psychiatric diagnoses remain questionable; (b) interview assessments of a large number of symptoms are inadequate; (c) the diagnostic approach results in problems of misclassification and confounding; (d) the dimensional/categorical issue may be more readily resolved with research using a symptom approach; (e) useful animal models of symptoms are more likely to be developed than useful animal models of syndromes; and (f) symptoms may be better phenotypes than syndromes in genetic research.