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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00594

The general psychopathology factor: structural stability and generalizability to within-individual changes

 Kia Gluschkoff1*,  Markus Jokela1 and Tom Rosenström1, 2
  • 1Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway

Objectives: Although cross-sectional investigations have found a bifactor structure of psychiatric comorbidity that includes a general psychopathology factor plus more specific factors, prospective evidence supporting the bifactor structure is still limited. We evaluated the structural stability (i.e., longitudinal invariance) of the bifactor model in comparison to an alternative structure, a correlated factors model without a general psychopathology factor. We also investigated the models’ generalizability to change processes in psychopathology. Methods: The analyses were conducted on 10-year follow-up data from 5001 respondents in the US National Comorbidity Survey. Invariance was evaluated through a series of nested invariance tests using confirmatory factor analysis, and the models’ generalizability to change processes was investigated using change scores of disorder status.
Results: The bifactor model and the correlated factors model exhibited an equal degree of strong structural stability over time. Only the bifactor model satisfactorily characterized the structure of temporal changes in psychopathology. Conclusions: The bifactor structure with a general psychopathology factor is stable over time and describes temporal changes in psychopathology. The findings support the notion that the general psychopathology factor describes a transdiagnostic etiology and may therefore provide a useful target for intervention and treatment.

Keywords: general psychopathology factor, P factor, Comorbidity, Bifactor Model, invariance

Received: 05 Feb 2019; Accepted: 26 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Danny Horesh, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Reviewed by:

Hannah R. Snyder, Brandeis University, United States
Elizabeth Long, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Gluschkoff, Jokela and Rosenström. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Kia Gluschkoff, Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, 00014, Uusimaa, Finland, kia.gluschkoff@helsinki.fi