Internalizing and Externalizing Psychopathology, Stressful Life Events, and Trauma Exposure: Multivariate Structure and Shared Etiology Open Access

LoParo, Devon (2016)

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Individuals who have experienced stressful life events (SLEs) or trauma are at a higher risk for both internalizing and externalizing psychopathology, although the strength of the association varies depending on the type of event, the form of psychopathology, and demographic characteristics such as ethnicity and gender. Though these relations are well documented, extant research has focused on relations between pairings of SLEs or trauma exposure and internalizing or externalizing disorders, rather than comprehensively evaluating their multivariate phenotypic or etiological structure, leading to several gaps in knowledge. In this study, we addressed these gaps by conducting a set of parallel analyses using data from two samples: 1) a low income, highly traumatized, primarily African American, adult nonclinical sample recruited at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, (2) a primarily Caucasian, community sample of twin children from Georgia. First, we used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to determine whether SLEs and trauma exposure are separate constructs or lie on a single continuum of stressful experiences. Second, we used structural equation modeling (SEM) to test whether the relations of SLEs and trauma to internalizing and externalizing psychopathology can be equated and whether different types of SLEs or traumatic events are differentially related to internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Third, we determined the univariate latent etiological structure of SLEs, trauma exposure, and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology and the multivariate etiological structure of the relations among them by performing univariate and multivariate behavior genetic analyses to quantify the degree to which SLEs and/or trauma exposure and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology share common genetic and environmental influences. Finally, we conducted genome wide association scan (GWAS) scans to conduct univariate single nucleotide polymorphism- (SNP) based and univariate and multivariate gene-based tests of association with SLEs, trauma, and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. When possible, we compared results across samples to examine the robustness of the estimated relations to demographic factors (e.g., ethnicity, socioeconomic status).

Table of Contents

General Introduction 1

Study 1: Structure of and Relations among SLEs, Trauma, and Psychopathology 4

Introduction 5

Method 15

Results 27

Discussion 33

Study 2: Univariate and Multivariate Etiology of SLEs, Trauma, and Psychopathology 41

Introduction 42

Method 53

Results 59

Discussion 63

Study 3: Gene-Based Tests of GWAS Data on SLEs, Trauma, and Psychopathology 71

Introduction 72

Method 78

Results 87

Discussion 90

General Conclusions 99

References 101

Tables and Figures 126

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