Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) increases risk for most psychiatric disorders. There is evidence that the structure of psychopathology can be explained by a number of latent dimensions of psychopathology including a 'General Psychopathology' (P) factor. The objective of the current study was to provide the first assessment as to whether P is identifiable, and what its correlates might be in a clinical sample.
An adult, clinical sample of Danish CSA survivors (N = 420) was assessed using the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III. Confirmatory factory analysis (CFA) was used to assess the latent structure of nine psychiatric disorders, and structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to determine correlates of the best-fitting dimensional model.
CFA results favoured a bifactor model including three specific dimensions of psychopathology, "Internalizing", "Externalizing", and "Thought Disorder", and a bi-factor "P". A SEM model that included ten predictors was a good fit to the data and explained 55% of variance in 'P'. The 'P' factor was significantly associated with emotional coping, negative self-worth, traumatic life events, and anxious attachments.
Psychiatric disorders were assessed using self-report measures, and the sample was predominately female.
Results provide initial evidence of P in a clinical sample and several unique correlates of this factor were identified.