SAGE Open (2013-08-01)

Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

  • Steven C. Hertler

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3


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With the ultimate goal of better understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), the present work is a review and critique of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., DSM-IV ) diagnostic criteria at the end of their 18 years of use. Problems of specificity (polythetic criteria and failure to employ a hallmark feature) make OCPD an indistinct diagnostic category that consequently contains a plurality of types. Problems of sensitivity (missing elements and concrete expression of signs) make it more difficult to cull OCPD persons from the population at large. Collectively, these problems of specificity and sensitivity have undermined the efficiency of the DSM-IV criteria set; but more importantly, these problems continue to distort the clinical understanding of OCPD generally.