The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (4th ed. [DSM-IV]; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) distinction between clinical disorders on Axis I and personality disorders on Axis II has become increasingly controversial. Although substantial comorbidity between axes has been demonstrated, the structure of the liability factors underlying these two groups of disorders is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine the latent factor structure of a broad set of common Axis I disorders and all Axis II personality disorders and thereby to identify clusters of disorders and account for comorbidity within and between axes. Data were collected in Norway, through a population-based interview study (N = 2,794 young adult twins). Axis I and Axis II disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality (SIDP-IV), respectively. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to investigate the underlying structure of 25 disorders. A four-factor model fit the data well, suggesting a distinction between clinical and personality disorders as well as a distinction between broad groups of internalizing and externalizing disorders. The location of some disorders was not consistent with the DSM-IV classification; antisocial personality disorder belonged primarily to the Axis I externalizing spectrum, dysthymia appeared as a personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder appeared in an interspectral position. The findings have implications for a meta-structure for the DSM.
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