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Reliability and Validity of Bifactor Models of Dimensional Psychopathology in Youth from three Continents

By Mauricio Scopel Hoffmann, Tyler M Moore, Luiza Kvitko Axelrud, Nim Tottenham, Xi-Nian Zuo, Luis Augusto Rohde, Michael P. Milham, Theodore D Satterthwaite, Giovanni A. Salum

Posted 01 Jul 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.27.21259601

Bifactor models are a promising strategy to parse general from specific aspects of psychopathology in youth. Currently, there are multiple configurations of bifactor models originating from different theoretical and empirical perspectives. Our aim is to identify and test the reliability, validity, measurement invariance, and the correlation of different bifactor models of psychopathology using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). We used data from the Reproducible Brain Charts (RBC) initiative (N=7,011, ages 5 to 22 years, 40.2% females). Factor models were tested using the baseline data. To address our aim, we a) mapped the published bifactor models using the CBCL; b) tested their global model fit; c) calculated model-based reliability indices. d) tested associations with symptoms' impact in everyday life; e) tested measurement invariance across many characteristics and f) analyzed the observed factor correlation across the models. We found 11 bifactor models ranging from 39 to 116 items. Their global model fit was broadly similar. Factor determinacy and H index were acceptable for the p-factors, internalizing, externalizing and somatic specific factors in most models. However, only p- and attention factors were predictors of symptoms' impact in all models. Models were broadly invariant across different characteristics. P-factors were highly correlated across models (r = 0.88 to 0.99). Homotypic specific factors were also highly correlated. Regardless of item selection and strategy to compose CBCL bifactor models, results suggest that they all assess very similar constructs. Our results provide support for the robustness of the bifactor of psychopathology and distinct study characteristics.

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