The Death of Histrionic Personality Disorder

Roger K. Blashfield, Shannon M. Reynolds and Bethany Stennett

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality Disorders

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199735013
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Death of Histrionic Personality Disorder


Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) and the International Classification of Diseases, tenth edition (ICD-10). The first section of this chapter defines HPD and discusses its history, starting with hysteria. The emphasis of this section is the documentation that HPD is a dying disorder that has generated little clinical or research interest as shown by the small empirical journal literature and the minimal textbook coverage. The second section of the chapter discusses the issues associated with the demise of HPD. These issues are (1) the belief that HPD is a sex-biased diagnosis, (2) the apparent failure of HPD to carve out a descriptively unique syndrome, (3) the associated loss of influence of psychoanalytic thinking in psychiatry and psychology, and (4) current efforts to overhaul the personality disorders in the upcoming DSM-5 by introducing a hybrid model and deleting categorical diagnoses with less clinical and/or empirical support.

Keywords: histrionic personality disorder; hysteria; DSM-5; sex-biased diagnosis

Article.  18454 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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