The relational structure of psychological symptoms and disorders is of crucial importance to mechanistic and causal research. Methodologically, factor analytic approaches (latent variable modeling) and network analyses are two dominant approaches. Amidst some debate about their relative merits, use of both methods simultaneously in the same data set has rarely been reported in child or adolescent psychopathology. A second issue is that the nosological structure can be enriched by inclusion of transdiagnostic constructs, such as neurocognition (e.g., executive functions and other processes). These cut across traditional diagnostic boundaries and are rarely included even though they can help map the mechanistic architecture of psychopathology. Using a sample enriched for ADHD (n = 498 youth ages 6 to 17 years; M = 10.8 years, SD = 2.3 years, 55% male), both approaches were used in two ways: (a) to model symptom structure and (b) to model seven neurocognitive domains hypothesized as important transdiagnostic features in ADHD and associated disorders. The structure of psychopathology domains was similar across statistical approaches with internalizing, externalizing, and neurocognitive performance clusters. Neurocognition remained a distinct domain according to both methods, showing small to moderate associations with internalizing and externalizing domains in latent variable models and high connectivity in network analyses. Overall, the latent variable and network approaches yielded more convergent than discriminant findings, suggesting that both may be complementary tools for evaluating the utility of transdiagnostic constructs for psychopathology research.
- Network analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology