Article

Personality Disorders

Edelyn Verona and M. Sima Finy

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0082
Personality Disorders

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Personality disorders (PDs) are defined in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR; published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2000) as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture” (p. 685) and can often be traced back to adolescence. Although broad in scope, this definition is meant to distinguish PDs from other psychological disorders that are less clearly related to enduring personality. Indeed, as of 1980, in DSM-III, PDs were introduced in a different “axis” from other disorders, such as mood or anxiety disorders, ensuring that clinicians pay attention to acute disorders as well as personality-based problems in living. The former are classified under Axis I, or “Clinical Disorders,” representing acute manifestations of illness (e.g., schizophrenia, panic disorder), whereas PDs are classified under Axis II (along with mental retardation) in order to capture inflexible personality traits that have become problematic and that require psychological attention. In DSM-IV-TR, ten distinct PDs are listed, organized into three clusters: odd or eccentric (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal); dramatic, emotional, or erratic (antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, histrionic); and anxious or fearful (avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, dependent) disorders. Other PDs (depressive and passive-aggressive) are not included as formal diagnoses but are provided for further study in the appendix. Individuals who show broad dysfunctions in personality that warrant treatment but who do not meet criteria for any specific PD are often classified as “PD—Not Otherwise Specified” (NOS). As of the early 21st century the etiology for PDs is unclear and multidetermined, but specific temperamental (e.g., neuroticism, disinhibition), environmental (e.g., childhood abuse), and biological (e.g., prefrontal cognitive control systems) factors have been most implicated. Specific etiological factors studied in regard to the three PD clusters as well as treatment approaches are reviewed in subsequent sections, with a focus on empirical and scientifically grounded publications.

Article.  8108 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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