Myrle E. and Verle D. Nietzel Visiting Distinguished Faculty Program Lecture

Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 3:00pm to 4:00pm

White Hall Classroom Building, CB 118
140 Patterson Dr. Lexington, KY 40506-0025

Adjudicating among Alternative Hierarchical Models of PsychopathologyIrwin D. WaldmanA General Psychopathology factor has recently been invoked to explain the comorbidity among disorders and symptom dimensions across the Externalizing and Internalizing domains, as well as unresolved issues in the classification and etiology of psychopathology. Despite enthusiasm for it, several psychometricians have questioned its validity and value, as well as the bifactor model that is most often used to characterize it. In this talk, I examine several issues in the validation of the general factor of psychopathology specifically and in adjudicating among structural models of psychopathology in general. Using analyses of data from relevant studies in the extant literature, we contrast the fit and external validity of a model that contains two correlated factors versus a bifactor model that also contains a general factor. We propose several criteria to evaluate and contrast the validity and utility of competing models, including various indices of model fit and construct replicability, the sensitivity of the general factor to its constituent first-order symptom dimensions, and the percent of variance in and patterns of associations with relevant external variables accounted for by the bifactor versus the correlated factors model. Finally, we test alternative structural models of psychopathology at the genomic level using GWAS results for 14 psychiatric disorders and related traits. These validation criteria and the results of applying them to both real and simulated data have important implications for adjudicating among common structural models of psychopathology.



School of Human Environmental Sciences
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