Socioemotional dispositions of children and adolescents predict general and specific second-order factors of psychopathology in early adulthood: A 12-year prospective study

Quetzal A. Class, Carol A. Van Hulle, Paul J. Rathouz, Brooks Applegate, David H. Zald, Benjamin B. Lahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We previously hypothesized that the ubiquitous, but patterned correlations among all dimensions of psychopathology reflect a hierarchy of progressively more nonspecific causal influences, with a general factor of psychopathology-also dubbed the p factor-reflecting the most transdiagnostic causal influences. We further hypothesized that the general factor is a manifestation of individual differences in 1 or more trait-like dispositions, particularly negative emotionality, that are nonspecifically associated with risk for essentially every dimension of psychopathology. We tested the hypothesis that this and other dispositions measured in childhood/adolescence significantly predict general and specific second-order dimensions of psychopathology in early adulthood. The latent general factor of psychopathology itself was correlated over time from 10-17 to 23-31 years of age even though it was defined by different informants and different dimensions of symptoms. Using a measure of dispositions that minimizes item contamination with psychopathology symptoms, parent-rated negative emotionality in childhood and adolescence predicted the general factor of psychopathology based on self-reported symptoms in early adulthood, whereas parent-rated daring predicted the specific adult externalizing psychopathology factor after correction for multiple tests. In addition, youth-rated negative emotionality and daring predicted specific adult externalizing psychopathology. These results over a span of 12 years suggests that the general factor is relatively stable over time and that associations of dispositional traits with second-order dimensions of psychopathology are enduring, sometimes across informants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-584
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume128
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Keywords

  • Daring
  • General factor
  • Negative emotionality
  • P factor
  • Psychopathology

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