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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994 Mar;51(3):225-45.

Diagnosing personality disorders. A review of issues and research methods.

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  • 1Medical College of Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia.


Many questions face researchers conducting personality disorder research. Which measure should be used? When should patients be evaluated--at initial presentation when they are still symptomatic, or after symptom resolution? Can a patient accurately describe his or her personality, or must an informant be contacted? What do you do when personality traits change during an individual's lifetime? I discuss these and other issues of personality disorder assessment in the DSM-III/DSM-III-R era, and examine the empiric literature bearing on these questions. First, I review studies of diagnostic reliability and stability, because studies of the above questions can only be interpreted in the context of the limitations imposed by modest reliability.

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