Expanding Stress Generation Theory: Test of a Transdiagnostic Model

Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 03/2012; 121(3):754-66. DOI: 10.1037/a0027457
Source: PubMed


Originally formulated to understand the recurrence of depressive disorders, the stress generation hypothesis has recently been applied in research on anxiety and externalizing disorders. Results from these investigations, in combination with findings of extensive comorbidity between depression and other mental disorders, suggest the need for an expansion of stress generation models to include the stress generating effects of transdiagnostic pathology as well as those of specific syndromes. Employing latent variable modeling techniques to parse the general and specific elements of commonly co-occurring Axis I syndromes, the current study examined the associations of transdiagnostic internalizing and externalizing dimensions with stressful life events over time. Analyses revealed that, after adjusting for the covariation between the dimensions, internalizing was a significant predictor of interpersonal dependent stress, whereas externalizing was a significant predictor of noninterpersonal dependent stress. Neither latent dimension was associated with the occurrence of independent, or fateful, stressful life events. At the syndrome level, once variance due to the internalizing factor was partialed out, unipolar depression contributed incrementally to the generation of interpersonal dependent stress. In contrast, the presence of panic disorder produced a "stress inhibition" effect, predicting reduced exposure to interpersonal dependent stress. Additionally, dysthymia was associated with an excess of noninterpersonal dependent stress. The latent variable modeling framework used here is discussed in terms of its potential as an integrative model for stress generation research.

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