The prevalence of personality disorder, its comorbidity with mental state disorders, and its clinical significance in community mental health teams

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2010 Apr;45(4):453-60. doi: 10.1007/s00127-009-0084-7. Epub 2009 Jun 20.


Background: Personality status is seldom assessed in community mental health teams except at a rudimentary level. This study challenges the assumption that this policy is either prudent or wise.

Aims: To measure the prevalence of personality disorder within community mental health teams and to investigate its relationship to mental state disorders and overall pathology.

Method: A cross-sectional survey of 2,528 of 2,567 psychiatric patients (98.5%) managed by community mental health teams in four urban settings in the UK in which diagnoses of personality and mental state pathology were assessed separately. Of these, a sample of 400 was interviewed, with a 70.5% completion rate for more in depth information.

Results: In total, 40% of all patients in secondary care suffered from at least one personality disorder. Regression modelling showed personality pathology accounted for a greater degree of global psychopathology than psychosis, alcohol or drug dependence, but was associated with anxiety disorders.

Conclusion: Comorbid personality pathology contributes greatly to overall psychopathology in secondary psychiatric care. It should be both recognised and managed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Community Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data