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The General Criteria For Personality Disorders Assessed By Interview: Do They Still Have A Role To Play?

Josep M. Peri, Ana Muñoz-Champel, Rafael Torrubia, Fernando Gutiérrez

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On the path to developing dimensional models of personality disorder (PD), we are at risk of leaving key diagnostic aspects behind. The general criteria for PD may be important ones because they reflect the defining aspects of personality pathology: long duration, independence from psychopathological states, and harmfulness. We assessed these criteria by interview in a sample of 362 psychiatric outpatients after administering the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire–4+. The result was a 42.5% fall in self-reported endorsements, due to misinterpretations (11.5%), short duration of traits or contamination by state psychopathology (9.8%), and traits being non-harmful (21.2%). However, not all personality traits and disorders underwent correction to the same extent, and ultimately, the interview did not improve the prediction of clinical variables. These findings raise doubts about the practical relevance of the general criteria for PD and support the role of self-report questionnaires for diagnostic purposes.