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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

5a - Three Unresolved Conceptual Issues in Personality Disorders: Commentary on Controversies in the Classification and Diagnosis of Personality Disorders

from Part II - Models


In a thoughtful and scholarly review, Paris (this volume) considers a variety of challenges and controversies besetting the personality disorders field. The author of this commentary concurs with most of his arguments. However, he examines three unresolved conceptual challenges in the personality disorders field that are largely unmentioned by Paris: (1) the relation between general personality traits and personality pathology, along with the possibility that some personality disorders reflect maladaptive configurations (interactions) among these traits; (2) the distinction between basic tendencies and characteristic adaptations, along with the possibility that criterion sets for some personality disorders (e.g., borderline personality disorder) reflect complex admixtures of both; (3) the implications of recently developed network models of psychopathology for conceptualizing personality disorders. Aided by statistical advances, the personality disorders field has made impressive scientific progress in some respects, but it needs to invest more of its time and energy addressing foundational conceptual questions.

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