An examination of the higher-order structure of psychopathology and its relationship to personality

Amanda A. Uliaszek*, Richard E. Zinbarg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study compared a series of higher-order models encompassing symptoms of both clinical and personality disorders. The final model was then correlated with a latent variable model of normal personality traits. A total of 420 undergraduates completed a battery of self-report symptom and personality questionnaires, with informant-reports and diagnostic interviews provided by overlapping subsamples. A three-level model with two factors at the highest level and four factors at the second level was the best fitting model. The higher-order internalizing and externalizing factors were then correlated with 30 latent personality facets. Results demonstrate an elevation on the neuroticism facets for the higher-order internalizing fac tor, along with low positive emotions, low actions, and low competence. The higher-order externalizing factor was negatively associated with most conscientiousness and agreeableness factors, while showing an elevation on excitement-seeking, impulsivity, and angry hostility. Future studies should replicate these models with the inclusion of more low base-rate disorders (i.e., psychosis).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-176
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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