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J Abnorm Psychol. 2010 May;119(2):282-92. doi: 10.1037/a0019189.

Locating eating pathology within an empirical diagnostic taxonomy: evidence from a community-based sample.

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Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Existing structural models of psychopathology need to be expanded to include additional diagnostic constructs beyond mood, anxiety, substance use, and antisocial behavior disorders. The goal of this study was to locate eating disorders within a hierarchical structural model of psychopathology that is anchored by broad Internalizing and Externalizing factors. Participants were female adolescent twins (N = 1,434) from the Minnesota Twin Family Study. The authors compared the fit of 4 models in which eating disorders (a) defined their own diagnostic class, (b) represented a subclass within Internalizing, (c) formed a subclass within Externalizing, and (d) were allowed to cross-load on both Internalizing and Externalizing. In the best fitting model, eating disorders formed a subfactor within Internalizing. These findings underscore the value of developing more comprehensive empirically based models of psychopathology to increase researchers' understanding of diverse mental disorders.

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