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Personality Disorders Essay

5287 words - 21 pages

Personality Disorders
Personality disorders indicate the presence of chronic rigid and
maladjusted personality traits, through which the person's
interpersonal or professional functioning is negatively affected, or
which lead to personal unhappiness and problems (Louw, 1990). Discuss
this statement from a biopsychosocial frame of reference and refer to
one personality disorder in any cluster to illustrate your answer.

The Biopsychosocial model:

The biopsychosocial model (Engel, 1980, cited in Paris, 1993) suggests
an integrated approach that understands psychopathology in terms of
multiple causes, none of which is sufficient on its own for the
development of the disorder. These factors could include biological
vulnerability, the psychological impacts of life experiences and the
influence of the social environment all of which may factor as risk
variables or protective variables. The biopsychosocial model differs
from more linear cause and effect approaches such as heredity in that
it is only the cumulative interactive effects of the multiple
variables can produce the overt disorder.

Personality disorders

Personality disorders are characterised by inflexible and longstanding
maladaptive personality traits that cause significant impairment and
subjective distress for the individual. The signs of a personality
disorder display in adolescence or early adulthood.

Individuals differ to the extent that they possess Personality traits
and it may be difficult to decide whether the trait exists to an
extent that can be considered pathological. DSM IV criteria are based
on a categorical model in which a disorder is diagnosed if “enough of”
certain traits are present as opposed to “not enough” traits which
indicate a lack of the disorder.

The five-factor model (FFM) is one of several personality theories
that are used to explain the variance in normal and abnormal
personality. The “Big Five” (cited in Klein, 1993; cited in Barlow &
Durand, 2002;) rates people on neuroticism, extraversion, openness,
agreeableness and conscientiousness and may be enough to characterise
the personality disorder. These factors could explain degree of
adjustment and stability or proneness to psychological distress and
impulsive behaviour (neuroticism), interpersonal style in social
situations and ability to express compassion and hostility
(extraversion and agreeableness) and capacity for goal directed
behaviour (conscientiousness).

Millon (1983, cited in Vincent, 1990) views personality on a continuum
with normal personality as more flexible and adaptive. He proposes
three primary factors for a normal personality: solitary, adventurous
and dutiful, which have sub-categories of the personality...

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