Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 834–851 | Cite as

Transdiagnostic Mechanisms of Psychopathology in Youth: Executive Functions, Dependent Stress, and Rumination

  • Hannah R. SnyderEmail author
  • Naomi P. Friedman
  • Benjamin L. Hankin
Original Article


Executive function (EF) deficits have been proposed as transdiagnostic risk factors for psychopathology, and recent research suggests EF impairments are associated with what is shared across forms of psychopathology (p factor). However, most research has not employed methods that differentiate between EF components, and little is known about the mediating mechanisms linking EF and psychopathology dimensions. The current study tested associations between the latent unity/diversity model of EF and latent dimensions of psychopathology and investigated mediating mechanisms in a community sample of 292 youth age 13–22. The results confirmed the finding that poor EF is associated with internalizing psychopathology in older youth via higher dependent stress and rumination, and showed that this pathway was transdiagnostic, predicting the p factor rather than internalizing specifically. Links with psychopathology were specific to the common EF factor, rather than updating- or shifting-specific EF.


Executive dysfunction P factor Internalizing Externalizing Stress Rumination 



This research and preparation of this manuscript were supported by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (R21MH102210 B.L.H., H.R.S. & N.P.F; R01MH063207 N.P.F; F32MH098481 H.R.S).


This research and preparation of this manuscript were supported by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (R21MH102210; R01MH063207; F32MH09848).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Hannah R. Snyder, Naomi P. Friedman and Benjamin L. Hankin declares that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Participants gave written informed consent (ages 18–22) or written informed assent with parental written informed consent (ages 13–17).

Supplementary material

10608_2019_10016_MOESM1_ESM.docx (444 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 443 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Institute for Behavioral GeneticsUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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