Objective: The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence and investigate the comorbidity and potential consequences of DSM-III personality disorders in the community. Method: A total of 810 adults were examined in the second stage of the Eastern Baltimore Mental Health Survey in 1981, part of the National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiologic Catchment Area program. The subjects were directly examined by psychiatrists using a semistructured method that allowed diagnosis of all DSM-III personality disorders as well as other DSM-III psychiatric disorders. Results: The prevalence of personality disorders in these adults was 5.9% (9.3% when provisional cases were included). Men had higher rates than women, and subjects who were separated or divorced had the highest rates. There was little comorbidity among specific personality disorders. Subjects with personality disorders were significantly more likely to have a history of sexual dysfunctions, alcohol use disorders, and drug use disorders as well as suicidal thoughts and attempts. In addition, they reported significantly more life events in the past year. Among subjects with any axis I disorder, those with personality disorders were judged by the psychiatrists to be more in need of treatment; however, only 21% were receiving treatment. Conclusions: Personality disorders are relatively common in the community. They are associated with axis I disorders and life events. Only one-fifth of the individuals who qualify for diagnoses of personality disorders in the community are receiving treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health