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.
Eikenaes, I., Hummelen, B., Abrahamsen, G., Andrea, H., & Wilberg, T. (2013). Personality functioning in patients with avoidant personality disorder and social phobia. Journal of Personality Disorders, 27(6), 746-763. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi_2013_27_109