The prevalence of personality disorder among UK primary care attenders

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2000 Jul;102(1):52-7. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.102001052.x.


Objective: To determine the prevalence rate of personality disorder among a consecutive sample of UK primary care attenders. Associations between a diagnosis of personality disorder, sociodemographic background and common mental disorder were examined.

Method: Three hundred and three consecutive primary care attenders were examined for the presence of ICD-10 and DSM-4 personality disorders using an informant-based interview.

Results: Personality disorder was diagnosed in 24% (95% CI: 19-29) of the sample. Personality-disordered subjects were more likely to have psychiatric morbidity as indicated by GHQ-12, to report previous psychological morbidity, to be single and to attend the surgery on an emergency basis. 'Cluster B' personality disorders were particularly associated with psychiatric morbidity.

Conclusion: There is a high prevalence rate of personality disorders among primary care attenders. These disorders are associated with the presence of common mental disorder and unplanned surgery attendance. Personality disorders may represent a significant source of burden in primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / economics
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sampling Studies
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology