Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-v2qlk Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-27T20:07:01.769Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Joint factorial structure of psychopathology and personality

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2018

Tom Rosenström*
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Line C. Gjerde
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Robert F. Krueger
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
Steven H. Aggen
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Nathan A. Gillespie
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
Kenneth S. Kendler
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA Deparment of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Fartein Ask Torvik
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Eivind Ystrom
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway PharmacoEpidemiology and Drug Safety Research Group, School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Author for correspondence: Tom Rosenström, E-mail:



Normative and pathological personality traits have rarely been integrated into a joint large-scale structural analysis with psychiatric disorders, although a recent study suggested they entail a common individual differences continuum.


We explored the joint factor structure of 11 psychiatric disorders, five personality-disorder trait domains (DSM-5 Section III), and five normative personality trait domains (the ‘Big Five’) in a population-based sample of 2796 Norwegian twins, aged 19‒46.


Three factors could be interpreted: (i) a general risk factor for all psychopathology, (ii) a risk factor specific to internalizing disorders and traits, and (iii) a risk factor specific to externalizing disorders and traits. Heritability estimates for the three risk factor scores were 48% (95% CI 41‒54%), 35% (CI 28‒42%), and 37% (CI 31‒44%), respectively. All 11 disorders had uniform loadings on the general factor (congruence coefficient of 0.991 with uniformity). Ignoring sign and excluding the openness trait, this uniformity of factor loadings held for all the personality trait domains and all disorders (congruence 0.983).


Based on our findings, future research should investigate joint etiologic and transdiagnostic models for normative and pathological personality and other psychopathology.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Joint senior authors.


Abdi, H (2007). RV coefficient and congruence coefficient. In Salkind NJ (ed.), Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 849853.Google Scholar
Achenbach, TM (1966) The classification of children's psychiatric symptoms: a factor-analytic study. Psychological Monographs 80, 137.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edn. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
Asparouhov, T (2005) Sampling weights in latent variable modeling. Structural Equation Modeling 12, 411434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Asparouhov, T and Muthén, B (2009) Exploratory structural equation modeling. Structural Equation Modeling 16, 397438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bonifay, W and Cai, L (2017) On the complexity of item response theory models. Multivariate Behavioral Research 52, 465484.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Borsboom, D (2017) A network theory of mental disorders. World Psychiatry 2017, 513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brainstorm Consortium (2018) Analysis of shared heritability in common disorders of the brain. Science 360, eaap8757.Google Scholar
Carver, CS, Johnson, SL and Timpano, KR (2017) Toward a functional view of the p factor in psychopathology. Clinical Psychological Science 5, 880889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Caspi, A and Moffitt, TE (2018) All for one and one for all: mental disorders in one dimension. The American Journal of Psychiatry 175, 831844.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Caspi, A, Houts, RM, Belsky, DW, Goldman-Mellor, SJ, Harrington, H, Israel, S, Meier, MH, Ramrakha, S, Shalev, I, Poulton, R and Moffitt, TE (2014) The p factor: one general psychopathology factor in the structure of psychiatric disorders? Clinical Psychological Science 2, 119137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cuthbert, BN (2014) The RDoC framework: facilitating transition from ICD/DSM to dimensional approaches that integrate neuroscience and psychopathology. World Psychiatry 13, 2835.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Czajkowski, N, Aggen, SH, Krueger, RF, Kendler, KS, Neale, MC, Knudsen, GP, Gillespie, NA, Røysamb, E, Tambs, K and Reichborn-Kjennerud, T (2018) A twin study of normative personality and DSM-IV personality disorder criterion counts: evidence for separate genetic influences. American Journal of Psychiatry 175, 649656.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
de Jonge, P, Wardenaar, KJ, Lim, CCW, Aguilar-Gaxiola, S, Alonso, J, Andrade, LH, Bunting, B, Chatterji, S, Ciutan, M, Gureje, O, Karam, EG, Lee, S, Medina-Mora, ME, Moskalewicz, J, Navarro-Mateu, F, Pennell, B-E, Piazza, M, Posada-Villa, J, Torres, Y, Kessler, RC and Scott, K (2017) The cross-national structure of mental disorders: results from the World Mental Health Surveys. Psychological Medicine 48, 20732084.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Del Giudice, M (2014) An evolutionary life history framework for psychopathology. Psychological Inquiry 25, 261300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Del Giudice, M (2016) The life history model of psychopathology explains the structure of psychiatric disorders and the emergence of the p factor: a simulation study. Clinical Psychological Science 4, 299311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Drton, M (2009) Likelihood ratio tests and singularities. The Annals of Statistics 37, 9791012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eid, M, Geiser, C, Koch, T and Heene, M (2017) Anomalous results in G-factor models: explanations and alternatives. Psychological Methods 22, 541562.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Elliott, ML, Romer, A, Knodt, AR and Hariri, AR (2018) A connectome-wide functional signature of transdiagnostic risk for mental illness. Biological Psychiatry 84, 452459.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Enders, CK and Bandalos, DL (2001) The relative performance of full information maximum likelihood estimation for missing data in structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling 8, 430457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Falconer, DS (1965) The inheritance of liability to certain diseases, estimated from the incidence among relatives. Annals of Human Genetics 29, 5176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Franić, S, Dolan, CV, Borsboom, D, Hudziak, JJ, van Beijsterveldt, CEM and Boomsma, DI (2013) Can genetics help psychometrics? Improving dimensionality assessment through genetic factor modeling. Psychological Methods 18, 406433.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gandal, MJ, Haney, JR, Parikshak, NN, Leppa, V, Ramaswami, G, Hartl, C, Schork, AJ, Appadurai, V, Buil, A, Werge, TM, Liu, C, White, KP, Consortium, C, Consortium, P, Group iPSYCH-BW, Horvath, S and Geschwind, DH (2018) Shared molecular neuropathology across major psychiatric disorders parallels polygenic overlap. Science 359, 693697.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Garrido, LE, Abad, FJ and Ponsoda, V (2013) A new look at Horn's parallel analysis with ordinal variables. Psychological Methods 18, 454474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garrido, LE, Abad, FJ and Ponsoda, V (2016) Are fit indices really fit to estimate the number of factors with categorical variables? Some cautionary findings via Monte Carlo simulation. Psychological Methods 21, 93111.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Geschwind, DH and Flint, J (2015) Genetics and genomics of psychiatric disease. Science 349, 14891494.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goodkind, M, Eickhoff, SB, Oathes, DJ, Jiang, Y, Chang, A, Jones-Hagata, LB, Ortega, BN, Zaiko, YV, Roach, EL, Korgaonkar, MS, Grieve, SM, Galatzer-Levy, I, Fox, PT and Etkin, A (2015) Identification of a common neurobiological substrate for mental illness. JAMA Psychiatry 72, 305315.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Haslam, N, Holland, E and Kuppens, P (2012) Categories versus dimensions in personality and psychopathology: a quantitative review of taxometric research. Psychological Medicine 42, 903920.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hayashi, K, Bentler, PM and Yuan, K-H (2007) On the likelihood ratio test for the number of factors in exploratory factor analysis. Structural Equation Modeling 14, 505526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Horn, JL (1965) A rationale and test for the number of factors in factor analysis. Psychometrika 30, 179185.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hyvärinen, A, Karhunen, J and Oja, E (2001) Independent Component Analysis. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jennrich, RI and Bentler, PM (2011) Exploratory bi-factor analysis. Psychometrika 76, 537549.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jennrich, RI and Bentler, PM (2012) Exploratory bi-factor analysis: the oblique case. Psychometrika 77, 442454.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
John, OP and Srivastava, S (1999) The Big-five trait taxonomy: history, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In Pervin, LA and John, OP (eds), Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research, 2nd Edn. New York: Guilford Press, pp. 102138.Google Scholar
John, OP, Naumann, LP and Soto, CJ (2008) Paradigm shift to the integrative Big five trait taxonomy: history, measurement, and conceptual issues. In John, OP, Robins, RW and Pervin, LA (eds), Hand Book of Personality: Theory and Research, 3rd Edn. New York, USA: The Guilford Press, pp 114158.Google Scholar
Kotov, R, Gamez, W, Schmidt, F and Watson, D (2010) Linking ‘big’ personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: a meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin 136, 768821.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kotov, R, Krueger, RF, Watson, D, Achenbach, TM, Althoff, RR, Bagby, RM, Brown, TA, Carpenter, WT, Caspi, A, Clark, LA, Eaton, NR, Forbes, MK, Forbush, KT, Goldberg, D, Hasin, D, Hyman, SE, Ivanova, MY, Lynam, DR, Markon, K, Miller, JD, Moffitt, TE, Morey, LC, Mullins-Sweatt, SN, Ormel, J, Patrick, CJ, Regier, DA, Rescorla, L, Ruggero, CJ, Samuel, DB, Sellbom, M, Simms, LJ, Skodol, AE, Slade, T, South, SC, Tackett, JL, Waldman, ID, Waszczuk, MA, Widiger, TA, Wright, AGC and Zimmerman, M (2017) The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP): a dimensional alternative to traditional nosologies. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 126, 454477.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Krueger, RF (1999) The structure of common mental disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry 56, 921926.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lahey, BB, Van Hulle, CA, Singh, AL, Waldman, ID and Rathouz, PJ (2011) Higher-order genetic and environmental structure of prevalent forms of child and adolescent psychopathology. Archives of General Psychiatry 68, 181189.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lahey, BB, Applegate, B, Hakes, JK, Zald, DH, Hariri, AR and Rathouz, PJ (2012) Is there a general factor of prevalent psychopathology during adulthood? Journal of Abnormal Psychology 121, 971977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lahey, BB, Krueger, RF, Rathouz, PJ, Waldman, ID and Zald, DH (2017) Validity and utility of the general factor of psychopathology. World Psychiatry 16, 142144.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lawley, DN and Maxwell, AE (1971) Factor Analysis as a Statistical Method. 2nd Edn. London: Butterworths & Co.Google Scholar
Lei, M and Lomax, RG (2005) The effect of varying degrees of nonnormality in structural equation modeling. Structural Equation Modeling 12, 127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lorenzo-Seva, U and ten Berge, JMF (2006) Tucker's congruence coefficient as a meaningful index of factor similarity. Methodology 2, 5764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mansolf, M and Reise, SP (2017) When and why the second-order and bifactor models are distinguishable. Intelligence 61, 120129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Markon, KE, Chmielewski, M and Miller, CJ (2011) The reliability and validity of discrete and continuous measures of psychopathology: a quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin 137, 856879.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Morin, AJS, Arens, AK and Marsh, HW (2016) A bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling framework for the identification of distinct sources of construct-relevant psychometric multidimensionality. Structural Equation Modeling 23, 116139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Musek, J (2007) A general factor of personality: evidence for the Big One in the five-factor model. Journal of Research in Personality 41, 12131233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neale, MC and Cardon, LR (1992) Methodology for Genetic Studies of Twins and Families. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neale, MC, Hunter, MD, Pritikin, JN, Zahery, M, Brick, TR, Kirkpatrick, RM, Estabrook, R, Bates, TC, Maes, HH and Boker, SM (2016) Openmx 2.0: extended structural equation and statistical modeling. Psychometrika 81, 535549.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nesvåg, R, Reichborn-Kjennerud, T, Gillespie, NA, Knudsen, GP, Bramness, JG, Kendler, KS and Ystrom, E (2017) Genetic and environmental contributions to the association between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences in young adult twins. Schizophrenia Bulletin 43, 644653.Google ScholarPubMed
Neumann, A, Pappa, I, Lahey, BB, Verhulst, FC, Medina-Gomez, C, Jaddoe, VW, Bakermans-Kranenburg, MJ, Moffitt, TE, van IJzendoorn, MH and Tiemeier, H (2016). Single nucleotide polymorphism heritability of a general psychopathology factor in children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 55, 10381045. e4.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nilsen, TS, Knudsen, GP, Gervin, K, Brandt, I, Røysamb, E, Tambs, K, Orstavik, R, Lyle, R, Reichborn-Kjennerud, T, Magnus, P and Harris, JR (2013) The Norwegian Twin Registry from a public health perspective: a research update. Twin Research and Human Genetics 16, 285295.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Olsson, U (1979). Maximum likelihood estimation of the polychoric correlation coefficient. Psychometrika 44, 443460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oltmanns, JR, Smith, GT, Oltmanns, TF and Widiger, TA (2018). General factors of psychopathology, personality, and personality disorder: across domain comparisons. Clinical Psychological Science 6, 581589.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pettersson, E, Larsson, H and Lichtenstein, P (2016) Common psychiatric disorders share the same genetic origin: a multivariate sibling study of the Swedish population. Molecular Psychiatry 21, 717721.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pfohl, B, Blum, N and Zimmerman, M (1997) Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality (SIDP-IV). Washington: American Psychiatric Press, Inc.Google Scholar
Polderman, TJC, Benyamin, B, de Leeuw, CA, Sullivan, PF, van Bochoven, A, Visscher, PM and Posthuma, D (2015) Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies. Nature Genetics 47, 702709.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Reichborn-Kjennerud, T, Krueger, RF, Ystrom, E, Torvik, FA, Rosenström, TH, Aggen, SH, South, SC, Neale, MC, Knudsen, GP, Kendler, KS and Czajkowski, NO (2017) Do DSM-5 Section II personality disorders and Section III personality trait domains reflect the same genetic and environmental risk factors? Psychological Medicine 47, 22052215.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rosenström, T and Jokela, M (2017) A parsimonious explanation of the resilient, undercontrolled, and overcontrolled personality types. European Journal of Personality 31, 658668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosenström, T, Ystrom, E, Torvik, FA, Czaijkowski, NO, Gillespie, NA, Aggen, SH, Krueger, RF, Kendler, KS and Reichborn-Kjennerud, T (2017) Genetic and environmental structure of DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder: a twin study. Behavior Genetics 47, 265277.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tackett, JL, Lahey, BB, van Hulle, C, Waldman, I, Krueger, RF and Rathouz, PJ (2013) Common genetic influences on negative emotionality and a general psychopathology factor in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 122, 11421153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tambs, K, Rønning, T, Prescott, CA, Kendler, KS, Reichborn-Kjennerud, T, Torgersen, S and Harris, JR (2009) The Norwegian Institute of Public Health twin study of mental health: examining recruitment and attrition bias. Twin Research and Human Genetics 12, 158168.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tucker, LR (1951). A method for the synthesis of factor analysis studies. Technical report no. 984 Personnel Research Section. Department of the Army: Washington, DC.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van den Berg, SM, Glas, CAW and Boomsma, DI (2007) Variance decomposition using an IRT measurement model. Behavior Genetics 37, 604616.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Waldman, ID, Poore, HE, van Hulle, C, Rathouz, PJ and Lahey, BB (2016) External validity of a hierarchical dimensional model of child and adolescent psychopathology: tests using confirmatory factor analyses and multivariate behavior genetic analyses. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 125, 10531066.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wang, K, Gaitsch, H, Poon, H, Cox, NJ and Rzhetsky, A (2017) Classification of common human diseases derived from shared genetic and environmental determinants. Nature Genetics 49, 13191325.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Weijters, B, Geuens, M and Schillewaert, N (2010 a) The individual consistency of acquiescence and extreme response style in self-report questionnaires. Applied Psychological Measurement 34, 105121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weijters, B, Geuens, M and Schillewaert, N (2010 b) The stability of individual response styles. Psychological Methods 15, 96110.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wetzel, E, Lüdtke, O, Zettler, I and Böhnke, JR (2016) The stability of extreme response style and acquiescence over 8 years. Assessment 23, 279291.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Widiger, TA and Mullins-Sweatt, SN (2009) Five-factor model of personality disorder: a proposal for DSM-V. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 5, 197220.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wittchen, HU and Pfister, H (1997) DIA-X Interview (M-CIDI). Frankfurt: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
Xia, Y and Yang, Y (2018) RMSEA, CFI, and TLI in structural equation modeling with ordered categorical data: the story they tell depends on the estimation methods. Behavior Research Methods [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.3758/s13428-018-1055-2.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Rosenström et al. supplementary material

Rosenström et al. supplementary material 1

Download Rosenström et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 541 KB