The structure of internalizing disorders in middle childhood and evidence for personality correlates

Shauna C. Kushner*, Jennifer L. Tackett, R. Michael Bagby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The current multi-method multi-informant investigation compared the fit of three competing models of internalizing problems in middle childhood: (1) a unitary factor model, (2) a two-factor model corresponding to the DSM-IV Anxiety/Depression distinction, and (3) a twofactor model corresponding to the Fear/Distress distinction observed in structural studies of adult psychopathology (Krueger Archives of General Psychiatry, 56:921-926, 1999); Slade and Watson Psychological Medicine, 36:1593-1600, 2006). In total, 346 youths (mean age= 9.51, SD=.78) and their adult caregivers (344 mothers, 227 fathers) reported on childhood internalizing symptoms and personality traits. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed adequate to good fit indices for all three models, although the unitary factor model provided the most parsimonious summary of the data. Although the structural analyses suggested that internalizing symptom subfactors were not clearly differentiated in middle childhood, hierarchical regression analyses revealed that personality dimensions uniquely predicted the Anxiety/Fear and Depression/Distress disorders. These results suggest that personality correlates differentiate childhood psychopathology structure before it is manifest at the symptom level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Internalizing disorders
  • Middle childhood
  • Personality
  • Structural model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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