Back to Journals » Psychology Research and Behavior Management » Volume 11

Avoidant personality disorder: current insights

Authors Lampe L, Malhi GS

Received 16 May 2017

Accepted for publication 24 September 2017

Published 8 March 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 55—66

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S121073

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Lisa Lampe,1 Gin S Malhi2

1Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia; 2Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Abstract: Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) is a relatively common disorder that is associated with significant distress, impairment, and disability. It is a chronic disorder with an early age at onset and a lifelong impact. Yet it is underrecognized and poorly studied. Little is known regarding the most effective treatment. The impetus for research into this condition has waxed and waned, possibly due to concerns regarding its distinctiveness from other disorders, especially social anxiety disorder (SAD), schizoid personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder. The prevailing paradigm subscribes to the “severity continuum hypothesis”, in which AVPD is viewed essentially as a severe variant of SAD. However, areas of discontinuity have been described, and there is support for retaining AVPD as a distinct diagnostic category. Recent research has focused on the phenomenology of AVPD, factors of possible etiological significance such as early parenting experiences, attachment style, temperament, and cognitive processing. Self-concept, avoidant behavior, early attachments, and attachment style may represent points of difference from SAD that also have relevance to treatment. Additional areas of research not focused specifically on AVPD, including the literature on social cognition as it relates to attachment and personality style, report findings that are promising for future research aimed at better delineating AVPD and informing treatment.

Keywords: avoidant personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, social cognition, psychotherapy, attachment

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]