Testing structural models of DSM-IV symptoms of common forms of child and adolescent psychopathology

Benjamin B. Lahey, Paul J. Rathouz, Carol Van Hulle, Richard C. Urbano, Robert F. Krueger, Brooks Applegate, Holly A. Garriock, Derek A. Chapman, Irwin D. Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) symptoms of common mental disorders derived from structured interviews of a representative sample of 4,049 twin children and adolescents and their adult caretakers. A dimensional model based on the assignment of symptoms to syndromes in DSM-IV fit better than alternative models, but some dimensions were highly correlated. Modest sex and age differences in factor loadings and correlations were found that suggest that the dimensions of psychopathology are stable across sex and age, but slightly more differentiated at older ages and in males. The dimensions of symptoms were found to be hierarchically organized within higher-order " externalizing" and "internalizing" dimensions, which accounted for much of their variance. Major depression and generalized anxiety disorder were substantially correlated with both the "externalizing" dimension and the "internalizing" dimension, however, suggesting the need to reconceptualize the nature of these higher-order dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This study was supported by NIMH grants R01 MH59111 to Benjamin B. Lahey and K01-MH01818 to Irwin D. Waldman. We greatly appreciate the helpful advice given to us by Catharina Hartman and Bengt Muthén regarding the CFA.


  • Children and adolescents
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Psychopathology
  • Taxonomy


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