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Personality disorders in the elderly compared to four younger age groups: a cross-sectional study of community residents and mental health patients.

Authors
  • Engels, Gemma I
  • Duijsens, Inge J
  • Haringsma, Rimke
  • van Putten, Cornelis M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of personality disorders
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2003
Volume
17
Issue
5
Pages
447–459
Identifiers
PMID: 14632377
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The notion is expressed in the DSM-IV that some personality disorders (PDs) tend to remit with age whereas other types do not. This notion is supported by the literature and the study reported here. Studies published between 1951 and 2000 show that (1) in old age, PDs are prevalent both in normal subjects and to a greater extent in the mentally ill; (2) the evidence for general age-relatedness of PDs is scarce and contradictory; (3) there is evidence for specific age-relatedness of PDs in old age. This empirical study focused on the prevalence of PDs in five different age groups ranging from adolescence to old age. It included both community residents (N = 623, aged 17-87), and mental health patients (N = 315, aged 18-86). Dimensional scores for PDs were assessed by means of the DSM-III-R- and ICD-10- based self-report Questionnaire of Personality Traits (VKP) (Duijsens, Eurelings-Bontekoe & Diekstra, 1996). There was consistent evidence for a specific effect of aging: community residents in the oldest age group reported more schizoid and more obsessive-compulsive characteristics compared to one or more of the younger age groups. Older mental health patients showed more schizoid disorder characteristics and fewer high-energy disorder characteristics compared to one or more of the younger patient groups.

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