Gender differences in personality disorders

Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Apr;152(4):579-82. doi: 10.1176/ajp.152.4.579.


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess gender differences in personality disorders. Since heterogeneity of axis I diagnoses could introduce variability in the assessment of axis II diagnoses, the authors studied a group of patients with a primary diagnosis of major depression.

Method: A total of 316 patients were evaluated with the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire--Revised, a self-rating measure, or the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Personality Disorders (SCID-II), a clinician-rated instrument, or both. Axis II disorders were assessed with the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire--Revised for 288 patients with major depression. The SCID-II was administered to 117 subjects, with an additional 95 subjects receiving the SCID-II for cluster B diagnoses only.

Results: The mean 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores for 108 men (mean age = 39.28 years) and 208 women (mean age = 39.11) were 19.0 (SD = 3.8) and 19.6 (SD = 6.9), respectively. Men were significantly more likely than women to meet criteria for narcissistic, antisocial, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders as measured by the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire--Revised and for narcissistic and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders as measured by the SCID-II.

Conclusions: These findings are consistent with those of previous studies showing a greater prevalence of antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders in men. In contrast with other investigations, however, neither the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire--Revised nor the SCID-II revealed a higher prevalence of any personality disorder in women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Compulsive Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Compulsive Personality Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Narcissism
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors