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Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2011;7:321-49. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-090310-120435.

Personality disorders in later life: questions about the measurement, course, and impact of disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899, USA. toltmann@wustl.edu

Abstract

Lifespan perspectives have played a crucial role in shaping our understanding of many forms of psychopathology. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to personality disorders in middle adulthood and later life. Several issues are responsible for this deficiency, including difficulty applying the diagnostic criteria for personality disorders to older people and challenges in identifying appropriate samples of older participants. The goal of this review is to explore the benefits of considering older adults in the study of personality disorders. Later life offers a unique opportunity for investigators to consider links between personality pathology and consequential outcomes in people's lives. Many domains are relevant, including health, longevity, social adjustment, marital relationships, and the experience of major life events. We review each domain and consider ways in which the study of middle-aged and older adults challenges researchers to evaluate how personality disorders in general are defined and measured.

© 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved

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