The Use Of Factor Analysis In The Testing Of A Five Factor Model Of Childhood Psychological Problems

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


This study utilizes both exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic procedures in order to address issues concerning the classification of childhood psychological problems. Historically, investigators have approached these issues using solely exploratory methods, e.g. principal axis factor analyses. In the present study, an effort was made to replicate past investigators' findings of five major dimensions of childhood psychological problems (i.e., Conduct Problem, Anxiety Withdrawal, Immaturity, Learning Disability, and Attention Deficit) with a traditional factor analytic procedure. A subsequent test of this five factor model was also conducted via maximum likelihood factor analysis, which allows for hypothesis testing of proposed factor structures. A checklist was constructed and teacher ratings of 267 normal and special placement pupils on this instrument were subjected to a principal axis factor analysis (exploratory method) and a maximum likelihood factor analysis (confirmatory method). In addition to comparing the factor structures yielded by the two analytic procedures, this study also explores the relationships between the obtained dimensions and external validity measures of aggression, anxiety, immaturity, reading achievement, impulsivity, and depression with an independent sample of 57 pupils in learning disabled and emotionally handicapped classrooms. Six major factors, interpreted as Conduct Problem, Internalizing Disorder, Immaturity, Reading Disability-Impulsivity, Cognitive Immaturity, and Motor Overactivity received support from the principal axis factor analysis, and the Conduct Problem, Internalizing Disorder, and Reading Disability-Impulsivity factors received support from the confirmatory factor analysis. The principal axis factor solution was interpreted as providing the more informative and meaningful solution. The major contributions of this study to the development of a taxonomy of childhood psychological problems are discussed and directions for future research are suggested.


Psychology, Clinical

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