Personality disorders in older adults: A review of epidemiology, assessment, and treatment

Krystle A.P. Penders*, Inge G.P. Peeters, Job F.M. Metsemakers, Sebastiaan P.j. Van Alphen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Purpose of Review
The aim of the paper is reviewing recent literature on the epidemiology, assessment, and treatment of personality disorders (PDs) among older adults (≥ 60 years).

Recent Findings
Since 2015, 12 primary empirical studies have been published addressing PDs in older adults; 3 addressing epidemiological aspects, 6 on assessment, 2 exploring both epidemiology and assessment, and 1 examining treatment. PD research in older adults is steadily growing and is predominantly focused on assessment. The studies showed that PDs were rather prevalent ranging from 10.6–14.5% in community-dwelling older adults, to 57.8% in nursing home–residing older adults. The Severity Indices of Personality Problems-Short Form, Gerontological Personality disorders Scale, and Assessment of DSM-IV Personality Disorders turned out to be promising instruments for assessing PDs in later life. Furthermore, schema therapy seems to be a feasible and effective intervention.

Despite promising findings, there is an urgent need for studies addressing PDs in older adults, especially studies investigating epidemiological aspects and treatment options. Furthermore, new areas of interest arise such as PDs in other settings, and behavioral counseling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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