The Psychosis Continuum: Testing a Bifactor Model of Psychosis in a General Population Sample

Mark Shevlin, Eoin McElroy, Richard Bentall, Ulrich Reininghaus, Jamie Murphy

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54 Citations (Scopus)
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Although the factor structure of psychosis continues to be debated by taxonomists, recent studies have supported a bifactor model consisting of a general psychosis factor and 5 uncorrelated symptom-specific factors. While this model has received support in clinical samples, it has not been tested at the general population level. Analysis was conducted on Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N = 34 653). Twenty-two psychotic symptoms were used as observed indicators of psychosis. These items were chosen based on their conceptual similarity to the items used in a similar study based on clinical samples. Confirmatory factor analysis and confirmatory bifactor modeling were used to test a variety of competing models. The best fitting model consisted of a general psychosis factor that was uncorrelated with 5 specific factors: positive, negative, disorganization, mania, and depression. These findings suggest that the bifactor model can be extended to general population samples, supporting the continuity between clinical and subclinical psychotic experiences. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number1
Early online date24 May 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2017


  • psychosis dimensions
  • factor analysis
  • general population


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