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Personality Disorder in Later Life: A Community Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Bruce J. Cohen
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA
Gerald Nestadt
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA
Jack F. Samuels
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA
Alan J. Romanoski
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA
Paul R. McHugh
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA
Peter V. Rabins
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA

Abstract

Background

This exploratory study compares the prevalence of personality disorders and traits in people over and under 55 years of age. The comorbidity between personality and other psychiatric disorders is also examined.

Method

Psychiatrists examined 810 subjects in a two-stage community survey. The semi-structured Standardized Psychiatric Examination was used to diagnose all DSM-III personality disorders and other psychiatric disorders.

Results

The older subjects were significantly less likely than the younger subjects to have any personality disorder (6.6% v. 10.5%; relative odds = 0.42, 95% confidence interval = 0.25–0.70, P<0.001). Antisocial and histrionic personality disorders were much less prevalent in the older than younger subjects (P < 0.05). The older subjects also had significantly fewer maladaptive personality traits (x 2 = 88.9, d.f. = 3, P < 0.001). The patterns of comorbidity between personality disorders and other psychiatric disorders were different in the two age groups.

Conclusions

It is important to evaluate personality in patients of all ages. While some older patients no longer meet criteria for personality disorder, maladaptive traits may become evident during times of stress.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1994 

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