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


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).

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    • "However , there are also a number of reasons why different forms of psychopathology might have similar effects on parenting. First, research suggests that a unidimensional psychopathology construct may underlie psychiatric disorders (Caspi et al. 2014; Lahey et al. 2012), and provide a more parsimonious conceptualization than the current classification of distinct diagnoses. This may explain high rates of comorbidity among types of psychopathology, with almost half of individuals who meet criteria for one disorder having another comorbid disorder (Newman et al. 1998; Kessler et al. 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the relation between parent psychopathology symptoms and emotion socialization practices in a sample of mothers and fathers of preschool-aged children with behavior problems (N = 109, M age = 44.60 months, 50 % male). Each parent completed a self-report rating scale of their psychopathology symptoms and audio-recorded naturalistic interactions with their children, which were coded for reactions to child negative affect. Results supported a spillover hypothesis for mothers. Specifically, mothers who reported greater overall psychopathology symptoms, anxiety symptoms, substance use, and borderline and Cluster A personality symptoms were more likely to exhibit non-supportive reactions. Additionally, mothers who reported greater anxiety and Cluster A personality symptoms were more likely to not respond to child negative affect. Compensatory and crossover hypotheses were also supported. Partners of mothers who reported high levels of anxiety were more likely to use supportive reactions to child negative affect. In contrast, partners of mothers who reported high levels of borderline and Cluster A personality symptoms and overall psychopathology symptoms were more likely to show non-supportive reactions. With the exception of borderline personality symptoms, fathers' psychopathology was unrelated to parental responses to child negative affect. Results highlight the importance of maternal psychopathology in parental emotion socialization practices.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10802-015-0062-3 · 3.09 Impact Factor
    • "Other factors, however, such as thought disorder (Keyes et al., 2013; Kotov et al., 2011; Markon, 2010), have been reported to encompass less common mental disorders, such as psychosis-spectrum psychopathology. Further, transdiagnostic factors can be thought of as hierarchical, wherein a broad and diffuse general psychopathology factor can be identified at the highest level, tying INT and EXT tendencies together (Caspi et al., 2014; Lahey et al., 2012). INT and EXT appear to be the first differentiation at the second level down, and close congruence with pathological versions of the Big Five appear at the five-factor level of mental disorder (Harkness et al., 1995; Krueger & Markon, 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research suggests that many mental disorders-mood and anxiety, substance use, and personality psychopathology-are related through relatively few latent transdiagnostic factors. With regard to the comorbidity of personality disorders and common mental disorders, factor structures such as internalizing-externalizing have been replicated in numerous samples, across the life span, and around the globe. One critical feature of transdiagnostic factors is that they serve as a point of intersection between personality and psychopathology, making them particularly relevant phenomena for applied clinical work. Although numerous studies have supported the significance of transdiagnostic factors for research and classification purposes, there has been comparatively less articulation of how such factors might be of benefit to practicing assessment clinicians. Herein, we present an overview of transdiagnostic factor research findings, and we apply these findings to the clinical topics of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. For clinicians as well as researchers, the use of transdiagnostic constructs presents positive implications for efforts to understand, characterize, and ameliorate psychopathology-including its manifestations as personality disorder-in a valid, effective, and efficient way.
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    • "Research in adults has confirmed these findings and has identified that the dimensional and hierarchical structure of psychopathology suggests that much of the problem of comorbidity may come from a metastructure involving several broad domains (e.g., externalizing) that contain specific disorders as subfactors (e.g., conduct disorder or substance use disorders) that share general and specific risk factors (Krueger & Markon, 2006; Krueger, Markon, Patrick, Benning, & Kramer, 2007). Recent work even suggests that there may be a " p " metafactor (similiar to the metafactor " g " in the structure of intelligence; Carroll, 1993; Pedersen, Plomin, & McClearn, 1994) that indicates an overall latent risk for increased distress, greater overall symptomatology, and greater lability to psychopathology across all diagnoses (Caspi et al., 2013; Lahey et al., 2012), though research is only just emerging on this broadest metafactor. Applying this metastructure to neurogenetics studies, or even neuroimaging studies in general, is particularly important given that many neural and genetic risk factors seem to be rather broad in their effects. "
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    ABSTRACT: The emerging field of neurogenetics seeks to model the complex pathways from gene to brain to behavior. This field has focused on imaging genetics techniques that examine how variability in common genetic polymorphisms predict differences in brain structure and function. These studies are informed by other complimentary techniques (e.g., animal models and multimodal imaging) and have recently begun to incorporate the environment through examination of Imaging Gene × Environment interactions. Though neurogenetics has the potential to inform our understanding of the development of psychopathology, there has been little integration between principles of neurogenetics and developmental psychopathology. The paper describes a neurogenetics and Imaging Gene × Environment approach and how these approaches have been usefully applied to the study of psychopathology. Six tenets of developmental psychopathology (the structure of phenotypes, the importance of exploring mechanisms, the conditional nature of risk, the complexity of multilevel pathways, the role of development, and the importance of who is studied) are identified, and how these principles can further neurogenetics applications to understanding the development of psychopathology is discussed. A major issue of this piece is how neurogenetics and current imaging and molecular genetics approaches can be incorporated into developmental psychopathology perspectives with a goal of providing models for better understanding pathways from among genes, environments, the brain, and behavior.
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