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Chapter 14.4

PSY BEH 11C Chapter Notes - Chapter 14.4: Borderline Personality Disorder, Big Five Personality Traits, Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Psychology and Social Behavior
Course Code
Susan Charles

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Psychological Science, Gazzaniga
Chapter 14: Psychological Disorders
14.4: What Are Personality Disorders?
Pesoality eflets eah peso’s uiue espose to his o he eioet
o Although individuals change somewhat over time, the ways they interact with
the world and cope with events are fairly fixed by the end of adolescence
o When a maladaptive/inflexible style of interaction with the world is long-lasting
and causes problems in work and in social situations, it becomes a personality
Most people are likely to exhibit symptoms of personality disorders
o At times anyone might be indecisive, self-absorbed, or emotionally unstable
True personality disorders are relatively common, affecting just under 1 in 10 people
o People with personality disorders consistently behave in maladaptive ways,
show a more extreme level of maladaptive behavior, and experience more
personal distress and more problems as a result of their behavior
Personality Disorders Are Maladaptive Ways of Relating to the World
DSM-5 divides personality disorders into three clusters
o Cluster A
Characterized by odd or eccentric behavior
Paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders
People with these disorders are often reclusive and suspicious, and they
have difficulty forming personal relationships because of their strange
behavior and aloofness
o Cluster B
Characterized by dramatic, emotional, or erratic behaviors
Histrionic, narcissistic, borderline, and antisocial personality disorders
o Cluster C
Characterized by anxious or fearful behavior
Avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders
These disorders share some characteristics of anxiety disorders
(e.g.) social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder
However, different form anxiety disorders in that they refer more to
general ways of interacting with others and of responding to events
This pattern becomes problematic only when it interferes with the
peso’s life, as i aking it impossible to travel or to maintain
In modern clinical practice, personality disorders are controversial for several reasons
o Personality disorders appear to be extreme versions of normal personality traits,
demonstrating the continuum between what is considered normal versus
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(e.g.) Indecisiveness is characteristic of obsessive-compulsive personality
disorder, but the DSM does not define the degree to which someone
must be indecisive to be diagnosed as obsessive-compulsive
o There is overlap among the traits listed as characteristic of different personal
disorders, so the majority of people diagnosed with one personality disorder also
meet the criteria for another
This overlap suggests that the categories may not be mutually exclusive
and that fewer types of personality disorders may exist than are listed in
the DSM
Indeed, there is evidence that personality disorders can be
conceptualized and organized as the extreme versions of the Big Five
personality traits
Acknowledging this weakness but wanting to preserve continuity in current clinical
practice, DSM-5 describes an alternative model for personality disorders that aims to
address many of the shortcomings of the traditional DSM approach
o In this alternative model, personality disorders are viewed as impairments in
personality functioning and the existence of pathological personality traits
o The person with the disorder shows extreme personality traits that interfere
with successful functioning in society
Personality disorders may not seem to affect daily life as much as do some of the other
o Although people with personality disorders do not hallucinate or experience
radical mood swings, their ways of interacting with the world can have serious
Borderline Personality Disorder Is Associated with Poor Self-Control
Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by disturbances
in identity, in affect, and in impulse control
o Officially recognized as a diagnosis in 1980
o DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relations, self-image,
and affects, along with marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood
and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the
Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships
Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-
image or sense of self
Impulsiveness in at least two areas that are potentially self-
o (e.g.) spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving,
binge eating
Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating
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