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Affective Dynamics Across Internalizing and Externalizing Dimensions of Psychopathology

NCJ Number
Clinical Psychological Science Volume: 8 Issue: 3 Dated: 2020 Pages: 412-427
Lori N. Scott; Sarah E. Victor; Erin A. Kaufman; Joseph E. Beeney; Amy L Byrd; Vera Vine; Paul A. Pilkonis; Stephanie D. Stepp
Date Published
16 pages
Since little is known about pathogenic affective processes that cut across diverse mental disorders, the current study examined how dynamic features of positive and negative affect differ or converge across internalizing and externalizing disorders in a diagnostically diverse urban sample, using bivariate dynamic structural equation modeling.
A total of 156 young women completed semi-structured clinical interviews and a 21-day ecological momentary assessment protocol with seven assessments of affective states per day. Internalizing and externalizing dimensions of psychopathology were modeled using confirmatory factor analysis of mental disorders. After controlling for externalizing disorders, internalizing disorders were associated with higher negative affective mean intensity, higher negative affective variability (i.e., unique innovation variance), and lower positive affective variability. Conversely, externalizing disorders were associated with less persistent positive affect (i.e., lower inertia) and more variable positive emotionality. Results suggest internalizing and externalizing disorders have distinct affective dynamic signatures, which have implications for development of tailored interventions. (publisher abstract modified)