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20.4: A New Alternative in the DSM-V

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    The purpose for adding a second approach to the diagnosis of personality disorders is twofold: first, the APA Board of Trustees wanted to provide continuity in the diagnoses being offered by clinicians, but second, they recognised that few individuals with a personality disorder clearly fit into the criteria for just one personality disorder. Thus, an alternative method has been proposed that considers assessing both "impairments in personality functioning and pathological personality traits" (pg. 761; APA, 2013).

    After listing general criteria for personality disorder that are quite similar to the traditional general criteria, the alternative approach addresses personality functioning in terms of two dimensions: self and interpersonal. The healthy vs. unhealthy aspects of the self involve one's sense of identity and one's self-direction, whereas the interpersonal component addresses empathy and intimacy. The individual is then assessed (as appropriate to the presumed, primary personality disorder) on 25 specific trait facets as they apply within five broad trait domains. The trait domains and associated facets are as follows:

    Negative Affectivity: emotional lability, anxiousness, separation insecurity, submissiveness,

    hostility, perseveration, depressivity, suspiciousness, restricted affectivity (lack of)

    Detachment: withdrawal, intimacy avoidance, anhedonia, depressivity, restricted affectivity,


    Antagonism: manipulativeness, deceitfulness, grandiosity, attention seeking, callousness, hostility

    Disinhibition: irresponsibility, impulsivity, distractibility, risk taking, rigid perfectionism (lack of)

    Psychoticism: unusual beliefs and experiences, eccentricity, cognitive and perceptual


    The DSM-V then offers examples of diagnostic criteria according to this methodology for antisocial PD, avoidant PD, borderline PD, narcissistic PD, obsessive-compulsive PD, and schizotypal PD, as well as a new diagnosis of Personality Disorder - Trait Specified. Personality Disorder - Trait Specified is diagnosed based on two criteria. First there must be moderate or greater impairment in the functioning of personality, as manifested in two or more of the areas identified above as identity, self-direction, empathy, and intimacy. Second, there must be one or more pathological traits as defined by the 5 domains/25 facets.

    So, with three different, utilitarian approach to the diagnosis of personality disorders, it is clear that disordered personality development is every bit as complex and fascinating as normal personality development. This should not be surprising, since individuals are unique and complex, and we all experience different lives. It will be quite interesting to see how the DSM-VI handles this issue.

    This page titled 20.4: A New Alternative in the DSM-V is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mark D. Kelland (OpenStax CNX) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.