Personality functioning in patients with avoidant personality disorder and social phobia

J Pers Disord. 2013 Dec;27(6):746-63. doi: 10.1521/pedi_2013_27_109. Epub 2013 Jun 20.


Avoidant personality disorder (APD) and social phobia (SP) are closely related, such that they are suggested to represent different severity levels of one social anxiety disorder. This cross-sectional study aimed to compare patients with APD to patients with SP, with particular focus on personality dysfunction. Ninety-one adult patients were examined by diagnostic interviews and self-report measures, including the Index of Self-Esteem and the Severity Indices of Personality Problems. Patients were categorized in three groups; SP without APD (n = 20), APD without SP (n = 15), and APD with SP (n = 56). Compared to patients with SP without APD, patients with APD reported more symptom disorders, psychosocial problems, criteria of personality disorders, and personality dysfunction regarding self-esteem, identity and relational problems. These results indicate that APD involves more severe and broader areas of personality dysfunction than SP, supporting the conceptualization of APD as a personality disorder as proposed for DSM-5.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / psychology*
  • Personality*
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Self Concept