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Temas em Psicologia

Print version ISSN 1413-389X


CARVALHO, Hudson W. de; JORGE, Miguel Roberto  and  LARA, Diogo Rizzato. Internalizing and externalizing structural model: emergency, validity and clinical utility. Temas psicol. [online]. 2014, vol.22, n.4, pp. 725-743. ISSN 1413-389X.

The official systems of classification and diagnosis of psychopathology have limitations related to the extensive clinical heterogeneity and the meaning of patterns of diagnostic comorbidity. To overcome them, researchers have argued for a dimensional structure to the most prevalent psychopathology based on two latent factors of internalizing and externalizing vulnerability. The current study aimed to evaluate the validity of the Internalizing/Externalizing Structural Model, having as a standard its ability to overcome the aforementioned limitations and its clinical utility. A non-systematic review was performed in PubMed and SciELO databases. Theoretical and empirical articles were retrieved based and evaluated on basis of its relevance to the model. Replications and studies based on samples of children were excluded. Bibliographic search yielded a total of 536 articles, of which 44 were retrieved. The content of the articles were organized into three lines of research: structural-epidemiological, psychobiological, and psychometric. The Internalizing/Externalizing Structural Model presents indicators that support its theoretical assumptions. The model is able to explain the diagnostic comorbidity and, partially, clinical heterogeneity. However, there is no standardized clinical instrument for the operationalization of internalizing/externalizing constructs and no validation studies with inpatient samples.

Keywords : Internalizing; externalizing; DSM; psychiatric nosology; psychometrics.

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