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Controversies Concerning The Self-Defeating Personality Disorder

T. Widiger, A. Frances
Published 1989 · Psychology

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The revision of the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R; APA, 1987) contains a new diagnosis, the self-defeating personality disorder (SDPD). SDPD, however, was not included within the text along with the other personality disorders. It was placed in an appendix with other “proposed diagnostic categories needing further study” (APA, 1987, p. 367). This placement was in response to the controversy generated by the proposal to include a masochistic personality diagnosis. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the controversy. We begin with a description of the historical precedents for the diagnosis and the development of the DSM-III-R SDPD criteria set. We then present the major arguments against its inclusion, followed by a discussion of the relevant empirical literature. We conclude with a brief overview that highlights fundamental empirical issues.
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