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The Building Blocks of Personality Disorders
•Personality Traits: enduring patterns ....
•Only when traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and cause significant functional impairment or
subjective distress do they constitute PDs.
•PDs can be thought of as maladaptive variations or combinations of normal personality traits
•Relevant to motives, cognitions, emotions, selfconcept, biology, and...
•Social Relationships – almost always disturbed (unhealthy) or maladaptive, impaired social
relations are common to all Pds.
What Is Abnormal?
•Statistical definition: Whatever is rare, not frequent, and not statistically normal
•Social definition: Whatever society does not tolerate
•Statistical and social definitions are tied to changing social or cultural norms
•Psychologists thus look within persons, inquiring about subject feelings and thoughts
•Psychopathology: Study of mental disorders
•Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV): Widely accepted
system for diagnosing and describing mental disorders
Personality Disorders:DSM IV
•Personality Disorder: An enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates
markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture (manifested in at least 2 of the
following areas: cognition, affectivity, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control)
•New Definition: Personality disorders represent the failure to develop a sense of self-identity and
the capacity for interpersonal functioning that are adaptive in the context of the individual’s
cultural norms and expectations.
What is a Personality Disorder?
Enduring pattern of experience & behavior
•differs greatly from expectations of a person’s culture
•usually manifested in more than one of: Thoughts, feelings, how a person gets along with others,
and the ability to control own behaviors
• rigid, displayed across variety of situations, leading to distress in key areas of life such as work,
•typically has a long history in a person’s life, often back to adolescence or childhood
•Pattern must not be attributable to drug abuse, medication, or other medical condition
•All personality disorders involve impaired social relations
Categories or Dimensions?
•Either the person does, or does not, have PD
•Disorders are viewed as distinct and qualitatively different from normal extremes on traits
•PDs are viewed as a continuum that ranges from normality at one end to severe disability or
disturbance at the other end