Personality disorder as harmful dysfunction: DSM's cultural deviance criterion reconsidered

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The DSM's general criteria for personality disorder (PD) attempt to define PD versus nondisordered personality conditions. If dimensionalization of PD occurs in the DSM-V (perhaps, it is suggested, with PD diagnosis moved to Axis I and overall personality assessment in Axis II, thus separating diagnosis from case formulation), general criteria likely will still be needed to prevent massive false positives. In this article, one of the general criteria, the cultural deviance requirement (CDR), is examined from the perspective of the evolution-based harmful-dysfunction analysis of disorder. The CDR is often assumed to express value relativity of harm in diagnosis, but cultural values are a designed feature of human social functioning that influence personality formation. The CDR is thus argued to be an indicator of whether an individual's personality organization is due to an evolutionary dysfunction. Value relativity and evolutionary analysis thus converge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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