Abnormal Psychology

DBQ # 8: Diagnosis of personality disorders.

The DSM 5 includes the diagnosis of 10 personality disorders: antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, obsessive-compulsive, avoidant, dependent, schizoid, schizotypal, and paranoid. This is called a categorical system; a patient with a personality disorder either fits into one (or more) of these categories, or does not. A trait-based system, centered on ‘the big five’ traits (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) has been considered, in which half of these categories are not used, and in which patients’ level of particular dysfunctional traits are rated by the psychologist instead. Read in your textbook (chapter 12) about these disorders, noting the difficulties mental health professionals (MHP’s) have in applying these labels accurately, and consider criticisms regarding them.

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Questions: What do you think? Is a trait-based system a better way to go? How should psychologists and other MHP’s go about improving diagnostic accuracy in labeling their personality disordered patients?

DBQ Instructions: Write a brief essay (at least 400 words) sharing your own reactions, thoughts and evaluation.

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