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Personality disorder prevalence in psychiatric outpatients: A systematic literature review

Beckwith, H.; Moran, P.F.; Reilly, J.G.


H. Beckwith

P.F. Moran

J.G. Reilly


Introduction A systematic literature review of studies measuring the prevalence of personality disorder in community secondary care is needed to identify both the met and unmet needs and plan services accordingly. Methods PsycINFO, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched using NHS Evidence. Only studies assessing overall personality disorder prevalence within help-seeking, outpatient populations were included. Papers were excluded for focusing solely on the prevalence of specific personality disorders or comorbid prevalence within specific populations. Results A total of 269 papers were identified. Nine papers met criteria and were critically appraised, showing a high level of heterogeneity with regards to methods, inclusion criteria, source of information, time of assessment, instruments used and overall quality of research. Prevalence estimates in Europe varied between 40% and 92%, were more consistently approximated between 45% and 51% in the USA and differed significantly in the two Asian studies: 1.07% (India) and 60% (Pakistan). Conclusions The prevalence of personality disorder in community mental health care appears to be substantial, but better estimates will only emerge from high quality studies with greater consistency of method. Implementing screening tools within outpatient or community services may result in high rates of personality disorder identification, with both clinical and service implications.


Beckwith, H., Moran, P., & Reilly, J. (2014). Personality disorder prevalence in psychiatric outpatients: A systematic literature review. Personality and Mental Health, 8(2), 91-101.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 23, 2014
Journal Personality and Mental Health
Print ISSN 1932-8621
Electronic ISSN 1932-863X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 91-101