An Investigation Of Functional And Structural Criteria For The Diagnosis Of Histrionic Personality Disorder And Histrionic Personality Features In A General Psychiatric Sample

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Clinical Psychology


The primary goal of this research study was to investigate the value of functional criteria (including behavioral presentation, interpersonal conduct, cognitive style, affective expression, and unconscious mechanism) and structural criteria (including self-perception, internal composition, and intrapsychic organization) in the diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder and histrionic features in a general psychiatric sample. Sex as a factor in the diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder was also examined.The sample of 309 subjects was composed of mental health patients seen in a variety of treatment settings including mental health clinics, private practice settings, general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, college counseling centers, and prisons. The majority of subjects were outpatients. There were 158 female subjects and 149 male subjects.Fifty-four clinicians contributed to the study. A total of 132 cases were contributed by Ph.D. psychologists. 24 cases were contributed by psychiatrists, 22 cases were contributed by social workers, 80 cases were contributed by professionals with the M.A. degree, 8 cases were contributed by professionals with the Ed.D. degree, and 43 cases were contributed by graduate students in clinical psychology. The clinicians rated the functional and structural criteria of the Millon Diagnostic Personality Schedule. They also provided the patients' results on the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, a DSM-III diagnosis, and considerable demographic data.Findings indicated that the diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder was most often significantly differentiated from that of other Personality Disorders on the basis of diagnostic dimensions including behavioral presentation, interpersonal conduct, affective expression, and self-perception. The structural intrapsychic dimension was found to have the highest positive predictive power of all the dimensions of the Millon Diagnostic Personality Schedule for the diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder. Significantly more women than men were found to have received the diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder when compared to the diagnoses of Schizoid Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, and Paranoid Personality Disorder.


Psychology, Clinical

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