Recommendations for Adjudicating Among Alternative Structural Models of Psychopathology

Irwin D. Waldman, Christopher D. King, Holly E. Poore, Justin M. Luningham, Richard M. Zinbarg, Robert F. Krueger, Kristian E. Markon, Marina Bornovalova, Michael Chmielewski, Christopher Conway, Michael Dretsch, Nicholas R. Eaton, Miriam K. Forbes, Kelsie Forbush, Kristin Naragon-Gainey, Ashley Lauren Greene, J. D. Haltigan, Masha Ivanova, Keanan Joyner, Katherine M. KeyesKevin M. King, Roman Kotov, Holly Levin-Aspenson, Thomas Olino, Jason A. Oliver, Christopher J. Patrick, David Preece, Lauren A. Rutter, Martin Sellbom, Susan South, Nicholas J. Wagner, Ashley L. Watts, Sylia Wilson, Aidan G.C. Wright, David Zald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Historically, researchers have proposed higher-order factors to explicate the structure of psychopathology, including Externalizing, Internalizing, Fear, Distress, Thought Disorder, and a general factor. Despite extensive research in this domain, the underlying structure of psychopathology remains unresolved. Here, we examine several issues in adjudicating among structural models of psychopathology. Using simulations and analyses of the extant literature, we contrast the model-based reliability of alternative structural models of psychopathology and highlight shortcomings of conventional model-fit indices for such adjudication. We propose alternative criteria for evaluating and contrasting competing structural models, including various model characteristics (e.g., the magnitude and consistency of factor loadings and their precision), the consistency and sensitivity of factors to their constituent indicators, and the variance explained in and patterns of associations with relevant variables. Using these criteria as adjuncts to conventional fit indices should become standard practice and will greatly facilitate adjudication among alternative structural models of psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-640
Number of pages25
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


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