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Aging Ment Health. 2004 Jul;8(4):307-15.

A preliminary investigation of self-reported personality disorders in late life: prevalence, predictors of depressive severity, and clinical correlates.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, North Carolina, USA.


Previous research suggests that personality disorders, particularly in clusters A and C, persist into late life, are particularly prevalent in late-life depressed samples, and negatively impact treatment of late-life depression. The present study examined the self-reported personality disorder traits of a sample of 65 depressed elders using the Wisconsin Personality Disorder Inventory IV (WISPI IV). As expected, clusters A and C were most prevalent and the presence of a personality disorder predicted the maintenance or re-emergence of depressive symptoms, as did hopelessness and ambivalence regarding emotional expression. No specific personality disorder traits were associated with clinical features of late-life depression (age of onset, number of previous episodes) while some personality disorder traits were associated with psychological correlates of depression (hopelessness, ambivalence regarding emotional expression, thought suppression). A theoretical explanation for the cluster prevalence based on self-verification is discussed along with a profile of elderly patients who may have poor depression treatment course if they exhibit personality disorder traits, particularly interpersonal rigidity or avoidance, chronic hopelessness, and emotional inhibition.

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