An Essential Caveat

It is recognized that a personality disorder, while affected by aging, does not disappear in old age (Sadavoy, 1987, 1996; Sa-davoy & Fogel, 1992). The personality disorder reflects a lifelong pattern, which is applied to situations across time, task, role, venue, and relationships. Although the specific expressions of the personality disorder might change, the core vulnerability does not. Throughout life, the individual continues to be more sensitive and vulnerable to the stresses of life than his or her nonpersonality disordered counterpart. Even so, there has been relatively little research addressing personality disorders in old age (Agronin & Maletta, 2000), and even less addressing its treatment. Most studies of personality disorders have included younger individuals, with older adults being underrep-resented in the sample or not represented at all. Thus, much of what we know and practice with this clinical population may neither be accurate nor appropriate for older adults.

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