Quantifying the Strength of General Factors in Psychopathology: A Comparison of CFA with Maximum Likelihood Estimation, BSEM, and ESEM/EFA Bifactor Approaches.

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Murray, Aja Louise 
Booth, Tom 
Obsuth, Ingrid 
Ribeaud, Denis 

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 (among other issues) on the extent to which comorbidity is symptom-general rather than staying largely within the confines of narrower transdiagnostic factors such as internalizing and externalizing. In this study, we compared three methods of estimating p factor strength. We compared omega hierarchical and explained common variance calculated from confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) bifactor models with maximum likelihood (ML) estimation, from exploratory structural equation modeling/exploratory factor analysis models with a bifactor rotation, and from Bayesian structural equation modeling (BSEM) bifactor models. Our simulation results suggested that BSEM with small variance priors on secondary loadings might be the preferred option. However, CFA with ML also performed well provided secondary loadings were modeled. We provide two empirical examples of applying the three methodologies using a normative sample of youth (z-proso, n = 1,286) and a university counseling sample (n = 359).

Bayes Theorem, Comorbidity, Defense Mechanisms, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Female, Humans, Latent Class Analysis, Likelihood Functions, Male, Mental Disorders, Models, Psychological, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychopathology, Surveys and Questionnaires
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J Pers Assess
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Informa UK Limited
Jacobs Foundation (unknown)
Swiss National Science Foundation (116829)
Jacobs Foundation Swiss National Science Foundation