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A general psychopathology factor in early adolescence



Recently, a general psychopathology dimension reflecting common aspects among disorders has been identified in adults. This has not yet been considered in children and adolescents, where the focus has been on externalising and internalising dimensions.


To examine the existence, correlates and predictive value of a general psychopathology dimension in young people.


Alternative factor models were estimated using self-reports of symptoms in a large community-based sample aged 11-13.5 years (N = 23 477), and resulting dimensions were assessed in terms of associations with external correlates and future functioning.


Both a traditional two-factor model and a bi-factor model with a general psychopathology bi-factor fitted the data well. The general psychopathology bi-factor best predicted future psychopathology and academic attainment. Associations with correlates and factor loadings are discussed.


A general psychopathology factor, which is equal across genders, can be identified in young people. Its associations with correlates and future functioning indicate that investigating this factor can increase our understanding of the aetiology, risk and correlates of psychopathology.

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