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Prevalence of personality disorders

Measuring the prevalence of personality disorders is difficult. There is no consensus on the definition, diagnosis or classification of the specific disorders. There is also much debate on operational definitions of psychological traits inherent in personality disorder, but little agreement. As such varied estimates of the prevalence are published due to the variation in definition applied, and measurement tool implemented.

Coid  collated much of the most recent data obtained in community surveys. The figures cited represent the results of surveys using interviews with participants. There is broad agreement that the prevalence of personality disorders increases dramatically among psychiatric hospital populations, with estimates ranging between 36 per cent and 67 per cent of inpatients suffering a personality disorder.

Similarly, personality disorders are more common in offender populations. Estimates for remanded male prisoners are around 78 per cent, for sentenced male prisoners that falls to 64 per cent; and 50 per cent of all female prisoners are thought to have a recognizable personality disorder.

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