Personality disorders over time: precursors, course and outcome

J Pers Disord. 2003 Dec;17(6):479-88. doi: 10.1521/pedi.17.6.479.25360.


Personality disorders cause dysfunction over the course of adult life. A chronic course of disorder tends to be associated with an early onset, and personality disorders are preceded by precursor symptoms in childhood. Long-term outcome varies by personality disorder category: antisocial and borderline personality tend to remit with age, an improvement that is not seen in other diagnoses. The chronicity of personality disorders can usefully guide treatment planning, and psychotherapy for personality disorders can focus on rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders* / psychology
  • Personality Disorders* / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Psychotherapy / methods