Quantifying the strength of general factors in psychopathology: A comparison of CFA with maximum likelihood estimation, BSEM and ESEM/EFA bi-factor approaches

Aja Murray, Thomas Booth, Manuel Eisner, Ingrid Obsuth, Denis Ribeaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Whether or not importance should be placed on an all-encompassing general factor of psychopathology (or p-factor) in classifying, researching, diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders depends (amongst other issues) on the extent to which co-morbidity is symptom-general rather than staying largely within the confines of narrower trans-diagnostic factors such as internalising and externalising. In this study we compared three methods of estimating p-factor strength. We compared omega hierarchical and ECV calculated from CFA bi-factor models with maximum likelihood (ML) estimation, from ESEM/EFA models with a bifactor rotation, and from BSEM bi-factor models. Our simulation results suggested that BSEM with small variance priors on secondary may be the preferred option. However, CFA with ML also performed well provided secondary loadings were modelled. We provide two empirical examples of applying the three methodologies using a normative sample of youth (z-proso, n=1286) and University counselling sample (n= 359).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-643
JournalJournal of personality assessment
Volume101
Issue number6
Early online date22 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • p-factor
  • general factor of psychopathology
  • comorbidity
  • trans-diagnostic factors
  • bi-factor
  • BSEM
  • ESEM

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