Chapter 8 - Personality Disorders
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Abstract:

AbstractIn previous chapters, we considered personality variation as if all levels of all personality characteristics were equally adaptive. From an evolutionary perspective, this is probably almost accurate: The fact that higher and lower levels of a given characteristic have persisted for so long suggests that they might be equally successful in promoting survival and reproduction.But in another important sense, the different levels of personality characteristics are far from being equally adaptive. If we consider the influence of an individual's personality on his or her own well-being—or on the well-being of persons who interact with that individual—then some personalities clearly seem better than others, and some personalities seem downright harmful. This is certainly the view held by people who work in mental health settings, such as psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, who believe that extreme levels of some personality characteristics are maladaptive enough to result in personality disorders. In this chapter, we will describe in some detail the meaning of a personality disorder as currently understood by psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

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