Is There a General Factor of Prevalent Psychopathology During Adulthood?

Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 07/2012; 121(4). DOI: 10.1037/a0028355
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The patterns of comorbidity among prevalent mental disorders in adults lead them to load on "externalizing," "distress," and "fears" factors. These factors are themselves robustly correlated, but little attention has been paid to this fact. As a first step in studying the implications of these interfactor correlations, we conducted confirmatory factor analyses on diagnoses of 11 prevalent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) mental disorders in a nationally representative sample. A model specifying correlated externalizing, distress, and fears factors fit well, but an alternative model was tested in which a "general" bifactor was added to capture what these disorders share in common. There was a modest but significant improvement in fit for the bifactor model relative to the 3-factor oblique model, with all disorders loading strongly on the bifactor. Tests of external validity revealed that the fears, distress, and externalizing factors were differentially associated with measures of functioning and potential risk factors. Nonetheless, the general bifactor accounted for significant independent variance in future psychopathology, functioning, and other criteria over and above the fears, distress, and externalizing factors. These findings support the hypothesis that these prevalent forms of psychopathology have both important common and unique features. Future studies should determine whether this is because they share elements of their etiology and neurobiological mechanisms. If so, the existence of common features across diverse forms of prevalent psychopathology could have important implications for understanding the nature, etiology, and outcomes of psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

  • 02/2015; 14(1). DOI:10.1002/wps.20175
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    ABSTRACT: Discovering the genetic basis of early-onset psychiatric disorders has been the aim of intensive research during the last decade. We will first selectively summarize results of genetic research in child and adolescent psychiatry by using examples from different disorders and discuss methodological issues, emerging questions and future directions. In the second part of this review, we will focus on how to link genetic causes of disorders with physiological pathways, discuss the impact of genetic findings on diagnostic systems, prevention and therapeutic interventions. Finally we will highlight some ethical aspects connected to genetic research in child and adolescent psychiatry. Advances in molecular genetic methods have led to insights into the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders, but not yet provided definite pathways to pathophysiology. If replicated, promising findings from genetic studies might in some cases lead to personalized treatments. On the one hand, knowledge of the genetic basis of disorders may influence diagnostic categories. On the other hand, models also suggest studying the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders across diagnoses and clinical groups.
    European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00787-015-0702-8 · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Research with adults suggests that anxiety is associated with poor control of executive attention. However, in children, it is unclear (a) whether anxiety disorders and non-clinical anxiety are associated with deficits in executive attention, (b) whether such deficits are specific to anxiety versus other psychiatric disorders, and (c) whether there is heterogeneity among anxiety disorders (in particular, specific phobia versus other anxiety disorders). Method. We examined executive attention in 860 children classified into three groups: anxiety disorders (n = 67), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n = 67) and no psychiatric disorder (n = 726). Anxiety disorders were subdivided into: anxiety disorders excluding specific phobia (n = 43) and specific phobia (n = 21). The Attention Network Task was used to assess executive attention, alerting and orienting. Results. Findings indicated heterogeneity among anxiety disorders, as children with anxiety disorders (excluding specific phobia) showed impaired executive attention, compared with disorder-free children, whereas children with specific phobia showed no executive attention deficit. Among disorder-free children, executive attention was less efficient in those with high, relative to low, levels of anxiety. There were no anxiety-related deficits in orienting or alerting. Children with ADHD not only had poorer executive attention than disorder-free children, but also higher orienting scores, less accurate responses and more variable response times. Conclusions. Impaired executive attention in children (reflected by difficulty inhibiting processing of task-irrelevant information) was not fully explained by general psychopathology, but instead showed specific associations with anxiety disorders (other than specific phobia) and ADHD, as well as with high levels of anxiety symptoms in disorder-free children.