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
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    • "Thus, the pattern of results in Fig. 2 raises the question of whether executive function deficits are primarily a function of general psychopathology, rather than specific disorders. Recent models of the structure of psychiatric disorders highlight the role of general psychopathology ('p') as a common higher-order factor underlying both internalizing and externalizing disorders , including anxiety and ADHD (Lahey et al. 2012; Caspi et al. 2013). The factor p is described as being conceptually similar to the g factor of general intelligence , in that it is a higher-order factor that accounts for much variation in lower-order factors. "
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    ABSTRACT: 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). 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. 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. 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.
    Psychological Medicine 04/2015; 45(12). DOI:10.1017/S0033291715000586 · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    • "Bifactor models were successfully used to test the existence of a general factor of psychopathology common to prevalent mental disorders in adults (Lahey et al., 2012). Second-order models are rather common in the literature (e.g., Byrne, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sparse evidence of a co-aggregation of the risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder provides support for a shared but nonspecific genetic etiology of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Temperaments are conceptualized as trait sub-syndromic conditions of major pathologies. This study set out to test the hypothesis of a continuum between schizotypy and affective temperaments versus the alternative hypothesis of their independence based on a cross-sectional, survey design involving 649 (males: 47%) college students. The short 39-item TEMPS-A and the SPQ were used as measures of the affective temperaments and of schizotypy, respectively. Confirmatory factor analyses were applied to a unidimensional model, to a standard correlate traits model, to second-order representations of a common latent structure, and to a bifactor model. Confirmatory bifactor modeling provided evidence against a complete independence of the dimensions subsumed by the affective and the schizotypal traits. The best solution distinguished between two sub-domains grouping positive symptoms and negative symptoms as measured by the SPQ subscales, and a sub-domain related to the affective temperaments as measured by the TEMPS-A. Limitations due to the use of subscales from two different tools should be taken into account.
    Psychiatry Research 11/2014; 225(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.10.027 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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