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The p Factor: One General Psychopathology Factor in the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders?

Publication ,  Journal Article
Caspi, A; Houts, RM; Belsky, DW; Goldman-Mellor, SJ; Harrington, H; Israel, S; Meier, MH; Ramrakha, S; Shalev, I; Poulton, R; Moffitt, TE
Published in: Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science
March 2014

Mental disorders traditionally have been viewed as distinct, episodic, and categorical conditions. This view has been challenged by evidence that many disorders are sequentially comorbid, recurrent/chronic, and exist on a continuum. Using the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, we examined the structure of psychopathology, taking into account dimensionality, persistence, co-occurrence, and sequential comorbidity of mental disorders across 20 years, from adolescence to midlife. Psychiatric disorders were initially explained by three higher-order factors (Internalizing, Externalizing, and Thought Disorder) but explained even better with one General Psychopathology dimension. We have called this dimension the p factor because it conceptually parallels a familiar dimension in psychological science: the g factor of general intelligence. Higher p scores are associated with more life impairment, greater familiality, worse developmental histories, and more compromised early-life brain function. The p factor explains why it is challenging to find causes, consequences, biomarkers, and treatments with specificity to individual mental disorders. Transdiagnostic approaches may improve research.

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Published In

Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science

DOI

ISSN

2167-7026

Publication Date

March 2014

Volume

2

Start / End Page

119 / 137

Related Subject Headings

  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 5203 Clinical and health psychology
  • 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
  • 1701 Psychology
 

Citation

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ICMJE
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Caspi, A., Houts, R. M., Belsky, D. W., Goldman-Mellor, S. J., Harrington, H., Israel, S., … Moffitt, T. E. (2014). The p Factor: One General Psychopathology Factor in the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders? Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 2, 119–137. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702613497473
Caspi, Avshalom, Renate M. Houts, Daniel W. Belsky, Sidra J. Goldman-Mellor, HonaLee Harrington, Salomon Israel, Madeline H. Meier, et al. “The p Factor: One General Psychopathology Factor in the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders?Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science 2 (March 2014): 119–37. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702613497473.
Caspi A, Houts RM, Belsky DW, Goldman-Mellor SJ, Harrington H, Israel S, et al. The p Factor: One General Psychopathology Factor in the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders? Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. 2014 Mar;2:119–37.
Caspi, Avshalom, et al. “The p Factor: One General Psychopathology Factor in the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders?Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science, vol. 2, Mar. 2014, pp. 119–37. Manual, doi:10.1177/2167702613497473.
Caspi A, Houts RM, Belsky DW, Goldman-Mellor SJ, Harrington H, Israel S, Meier MH, Ramrakha S, Shalev I, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. The p Factor: One General Psychopathology Factor in the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders? Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. 2014 Mar;2:119–137.
Journal cover image

Published In

Clinical Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science

DOI

ISSN

2167-7026

Publication Date

March 2014

Volume

2

Start / End Page

119 / 137

Related Subject Headings

  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 5203 Clinical and health psychology
  • 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
  • 1701 Psychology