Evidence for the Trait-Impulsivity Etiological Model in a Clinical Sample: Bifactor Structure and Its Relation to Impairment and Environmental Risk
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The trait-impulsivity etiological model assumes that a general factor (trait-impulsivity) underlies attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and other externalizing disorders. We investigated the plausibility of this assumption by testing the factor structure of ADHD and ODD in a bifactor framework for a clinical sample of 1420 children between 6 and 18 years of age (M = 9.99, SD = 3.34; 85% male). Further, the trait-impulsivity etiological model assumes that ODD emerges only if environmental risk factors are present. Our results support the validity of the trait-impulsivity etiological model, as they confirm that ADHD and ODD share a strong general factor of disruptive behavior (DB) in this clinical sample. Furthermore, unlike the subdimensions of ADHD, we found that the specific ODD factor explained as much true score variance as the general DB factor. This suggests that a common scale of ADHD and ODD may prove to be as important as a separate ODD subscale to assess externalizing problems in school-age children. However, all other subscales of ADHD may not explain sufficient true score variance once the impact of the general DB factor has been taken into consideration. In accordance with the trait-impulsivity model, we also showed that all factors, but predominantly the general factor and specific inattention factor, predicted parent-rated impairment, and that predominantly ODD and impulsivity are predicted by environmental risk factors.
KeywordsAttention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Oppositional defiant disorder Bifactor Confirmatory factor analysis Trait-impulsivity etiological model
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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