Joint factorial structure of psychopathology and personality

Tom Rosenström, Line C. Gjerde, Robert F. Krueger, Steven H. Aggen, Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski, Nathan A. Gillespie, Kenneth S. Kendler, Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud, Fartein Ask Torvik, Eivind Ystrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2158-2167
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological medicine
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding from the US National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse (1R01DA037558-01A1), the Research Council of Norway (226985; 240061), the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation, the Norwegian Council for Mental Health, and the European Commission under the program 'Quality of Life and Management of the Living Resources' of the Fifth Framework Program (QLG2-CT-2002-01254).

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2018.


  • Behavior genetics
  • Big Five personality traits
  • DSM-5 Section III personality traits
  • factor analysis
  • p factor
  • psychiatric comorbidity


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