Both psychological and neuropsychological testing can be designed to assess for personality disorders. Personality disorders refers to a stable pattern of inner experience and outward displays of behavior that are significantly different from the expectations of an individual’s culture. These patterns can be manifested in two or more of the following areas:
1. Cognition (i.e. the way in which individuals perceive themselves, others, and the world; and the way in which they interpret themselves, others, and the world).
2. Affect (i.e. this refers to the appropriateness of emotional responses, and includes the range, intensity, and lability of emotional responses).
3. Interpersonal Functioning (i.e. the way in which one interacts with others in culturally appropriate ways)
4. Impulse Control (i.e. the ability that one can control impulses and inhibit them in order to behave appropriately in various situations).
These patterns tend to be inflexible and are pervasive across a variety of personal and social contexts. In others words, these patterns are not merely states that occur infrequently, they are enduring and represent one’s personality and way of interacting with their self and the world. In addition, these patterns lead to clinically significant distress or lead to impairment in important areas of functioning.
Psychological testing can assess for personality disorders that meet these criteria. The personality disorders that can be assessed for are as follows (the following disorders do not include all of the criteria for each disorder, instead a core feature of each disorder is provided; in addition, the following information was obtained by referencing the DSM-5):
1. Paranoid Personality Disorder-defined primarily be a pervasive distrust of others and suspiciousness of their motives to the extent they perceive their motives as malevolent.
2. Schizoid Personality Disorder-defined primarily by a pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships. In addition, they also demonstrate a restrictive range of emotional expression.
3. Schizotypal Personality Disorder-defined primarily by a pervasive pattern of deficits in social and interpersonal functioning. These individuals also experience acute discomfort and a diminished capacity to have close relationships with others. They also tend to have cognitive and perception distortions and their behavior tends to be considered eccentric.
4. Antisocial Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others.
5. Borderline Personality Disorder-defined primarily by unstable relationships with others, an unstable self-image or self-perception, unstable emotional regulation and expression, and significant impulsivity.
6. Histrionic Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive pattern of seeking attention and emotionality that is considered excessive to the social context.
7. Narcissistic Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive pattern of grandiose thought patterns or behavior, a need to be admired by others, and a lack of empathy for others.
8. Avoidant Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive pattern of feeling inadequate, inhibition in social situations, and significant sensitivity to negative evaluation from others.
9. Dependent Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of by others. This need leads to behavior that is submissive and clinging. The individual also experiences fears of separation from significant others.
10. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with perfection, order, and control of mental states and interpersonal relationships/situations, at the expense of showing flexibility, openness to different ideas and behavior, and efficiency often related to task accomplishment.