Sex bias in the diagnosis of personality disorders: An evaluation of the DSM-IV criteria

Miriam N. Funtowicz, Thomas A. Widiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study considered whether the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) is biased against women by requiring less dysfunction for the personality disorders that are more commonly diagnosed in women (e.g., histrionic). Clinicians estimated the extent of social dysfunction, occupational dysfunction, and personal distress suggested by each of the diagnostic criteria for 6 personality disorders. The results failed to suggest a bias against women, as there was no difference in the overall level of dysfunction associated with the female-typed personality disorder diagnostic criteria (fewer criteria are also required for the male-typed diagnoses). However, the considerable variation in dysfunction across disorders and criteria, and the minimal degree of impairment implied by some of the diagnostic criteria, also raise more general issues that should perhaps be addressed in future editions of the diagnostic manual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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