Numerous studies have examined the structure of the childhood externalizing disorder symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder (CD), both separately as well as simultaneously. The present study expanded on previous findings by implementing a multi-level hierarchical approach to investigating the component structure of ADHD, ODD, and CD criteria in 487 14-year-old boys from the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS). We found support for a hierarchical conceptualization of externalizing behavior criteria in early adolescent boys by specifying how one-, two-, three-, four-, five- and six-factor models of externalizing criteria can be integrated. These results suggest that it may be more beneficial to conceptualize different levels of this hierarchy as relevant to different issues in case conceptualization and research design, from the broad level of an overall externalizing spectrum, to the level of finer-grained subtypes within specific disorders.
- Hierarchical modeling
- Principle components