The generalizability of the structure of substance abuse and antisocial behavioral syndromes: A systematic review

S. E. Soe-Agnie*, M. C.S. Paap, J. E.L. VanDerNagel, H. J.M. Nijman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background Although several authors have suggested that a single externalizing spectrum encompassing both antisocial behavioral syndromes and substance use disorder is to be preferred, this assumption has not been evaluated systematically throughout studies. Purpose The objective was to establish the generalizability of transdiagnostic models of externalizing disorders across different types of disorders and populations, in regard to the strength of the evidence. Method We conducted a systematic literature review using combinations of two sets of keywords: 1) “antisocial”, “externalizing”, “conduct disorder”, “disruptive behavior disorder”, “substance abuse”, “substance-related disorder”, “cannabis”, “cocaine”, “hallucinogen”, “alcoholism”, “opioid”; 2) “latent structure”, “factor analysis”, “multivariate analysis”. Results Models supporting a superordinate factor appeared dominant in a limited set of different populations, on which the majority of the research sample was focused. Conclusions Although the externalizing spectrum model is a promising angle for future research and treatment, extending research on this model in a higher diversity of populations is recommended to enhance the understanding and applicability of the externalizing spectrum model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Antisocial
  • Factor structure
  • Substance abuse
  • Systematic review

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