The p Factor and the n Factor: Associations Between the General Factors of Psychopathology and Neuroticism in Children
Research across age groups has consistently indicated that psychopathology has a general factor structure such that a broad latent dimension (or p factor) captures variance common to all mental disorders as well as specific internalizing and externalizing factors. This research has found that the p factor overlaps substantially with trait negative emotionality (or neuroticism). However, less is known about the psychological substance of the specific factors of the general psychopathology model or how lower-order facets of neuroticism may relate to each psychopathology factor. We investigated the structure of neuroticism and psychopathology as well as associations between these domains using multimethod assessments in a sample of 695 preadolescent children. We found that both psychopathology and neuroticism may be well characterized by bifactor models and that there was substantial overlap between psychopathology (p) and neuroticism (n) general factors as well as between specific factors (Internalizing with Fear, Externalizing with Irritability).