Adolescents with Personality Disorders: A Systematic Review

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue VI, June 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Adolescents with Personality Disorders: A Systematic Review

Olubukola Akanni1, Prince Jacob2
1Department of Psychology, Atlantic International University, Hawaii, USA
2Academic Advisor, Atlantic International University Hawaii, USA

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Personality Disorder is a mental health disorder recognized by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Mental Disorders Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Personality Disorder refers to personality characteristics that, for a prolonged period, are maladaptive, inflexible, and pervasive in many contexts, causing severe discomfort and disability. The study was DSM-5 lists three clusters of personality disorders with ten specific disorders in those categories. An adolescent must meet the DSM-5 requirements to be diagnosed with a personality disorder. The primary aim of this article is to review research documenting the underlying mental health problems in personality disorders amongst adolescents and, to evaluate research on potential intervention for such disorders.
Eligibility criteria: This systematic review has exclusion and inclusion criteria that were applied to the search results of publication within the last 20 years and included personality and adolescence in the title.
Results: Nineteen studies were considered out of sixty (60) primary studies, of which 19 (31.66%) satisfied the inclusion criteria. The primary studies reviewed personality disorder in childhood/adolescence and the screening for personality disorder in adolescents and impaired functioning from adolescence to adulthood. Personality Disorder was predominately measured using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Axis II disorders (n = 9), the Diagnostic Interview for GHQ & SIPP (n = 2), and DSM criteria based psychiatric evaluation (n = 8). The primary studies utilized cross-sectional, case-control. Studies comprised a mix of clinical and non-clinical populations and ranged in duration from 10 to 24 years.
Conclusions: Adolescent personality has significant genetics and environmental impact. This systematic review shows that many adolescents display behaviour to a certain degree, making it challenging to differentiate mental health disorder and normal adolescent behaviour from a personality disorder. A significant clue is when adolescents have recurrent issues or defiance and when these behaviours are getting more severe. Adolescents at risk of PDs may also be having substance abuse disorder, including alcohol, which exacerbates depression or anxiety. The self-reported data provided very few cases that met diagnostic requirements for personality disorders in adolescence. Hence, more studiesare still needed.

Keywords: Adolescent, personality disorders, mental health, anxiety, depression.


The word personality originates from the Latin expression persona, initially reflecting the theatrical mask used by ancient dramatic players. Persona indicates a pretence of appearance: the possession of characteristics other than those that define the person behind the mask, as a mask assumed by an actor. (Millon et al., 2012)
Two similar words, character, and temperament are frequently mistaken for personality. While all three words in casual use have similar meanings, a character refers to attributes acquired during childhood and connotes a degree of compliance with ethical, social norms. On the other hand, temperament applies not to socializing factors but to a specific biological inclination towards such activities. One individual may be said to be of “good character,” and another individual may have an “irritable temperament.” The character, thus, reflects the crystallized influence of nurture, and the physically coded influence of nature is expressed by temperament.