rr#4 - 1. There has been a great deal of controversy and...

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1. There has been a great deal of controversy and opposition concerning the diagnostic criteria for personality disorders in the DSM-IV-TR, and the way in which personality disorders are defined. For example, many features in the diagnostic criteria for a certain personality disorder are also common to other personality disorders. As such, many question the reliability of the diagnoses of personality disorders. Also, diagnosing a personality disorder according to the DSM may require obtaining information that is difficult to acquire. Specific information about how a person interacts with others and how stable their traits are is often difficult to determine. This may also contribute to low reliability in diagnoses of personality disorders. In addition, the DSM-IV-TR defines personality disorders as representing constant and unchanging attributes. Yet, there is evidence that the symptoms themselves and the severity of the symptoms in people diagnosed with personality disorders can change over time. Another major controversy concerns the gender and ethnic differences observed in the diagnoses of personality disorders. Many argue that theses differences represent biases in either how the DSM defines the personality disorders or in how the clinicians apply the diagnostic criteria. For example, some personality disorders (histrionic, dependent, and borderline) may be more often diagnosed in women because the criteria for these disorders coincides with longstanding stereotypical views of women. Biases may also occur because clinicians may often not realize the vast number of ways in which symptoms may be expressed. In order to eliminate biased applications of diagnostic criteria, some advocate the use of structured (as opposed to unstructured) interviews. Also, others have advocated a change in the DSM criteria itself; that there should be the same amount of symptoms and diagnoses for disordered variations of male and female personality traits. One of the biggest controversies involves the categorization of personality disorders. The disorders are categorized in a manner that indicates that their features and characteristics are completely different from more standard personalities. However, many argue that personality disorders are not defined by sets of characteristics completely different from standard personalities, but rather, personality disorders are defined as being extremes of standard personalities. Some advocate that construction of personality disorders in the DSM-IV-TR should be based on the five-factor model of personality, and that personality disorders should be recognized as extreme forms of the different personalities within the five factor model. These advocates point out that the current construction of personality disorders in the DSM (which is based purely on observations from research and clinical settings) lacks an underlying theory for personality disorders. As such, further research of personality disorders is difficult because there is no theory from which to
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This note was uploaded on 09/06/2008 for the course PSYC 360 taught by Professor Borders during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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rr#4 - 1. There has been a great deal of controversy and...

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