3 years ago

Phenotypic factor analysis of psychopathology reveals a new body-related transdiagnostic factor

Patrizia Pezzoli, Jan Antfolk, Pekka Santtila

by Patrizia Pezzoli, Jan Antfolk, Pekka Santtila

Comorbidity challenges the notion of mental disorders as discrete categories. An increasing body of literature shows that symptoms cut across traditional diagnostic boundaries and interact in shaping the latent structure of psychopathology. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, we reveal the latent sources of covariation among nine measures of psychopathological functioning in a population-based sample of 13024 Finnish twins and their siblings. By implementing unidimensional, multidimensional, second-order, and bifactor models, we illustrate the relationships between observed variables, specific, and general latent factors. We also provide the first investigation to date of measurement invariance of the bifactor model of psychopathology across gender and age groups. Our main result is the identification of a distinct “Body” factor, alongside the previously identified Internalizing and Externalizing factors. We also report relevant cross-disorder associations, especially between body-related psychopathology and trait anger, as well as substantial sex and age differences in observed and latent means. The findings expand the meta-structure of psychopathology, with implications for empirical and clinical practice, and demonstrate shared mechanisms underlying attitudes towards nutrition, self-image, sexuality and anger, with gender- and age-specific features.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177674

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