Empirical Evaluation and Clinical Relevance of a Dimensional Model for Personality Disorders in Later Life

Project Details


One out of five persons in Europe is aged 65+ and this population will
keep continuing to age. With prevalence rates of personality
disorders (PDs) of 14.5% in community samples, and even higher
rates in clinical samples, varying from 33 % for outpatients to 80 %
for inpatients, this greying evolution poses an important challenge for
mental health care. Surprisingly, the construct of PDs in older adults
remains a flagging field of inquiry. Major cause of this knowledge gap
is that current categorical PD criteria are not attuned to the aging
context. Yet, with the paradigm shift from a categorical to a
dimensional approach of PDs, the aging context can get the
deserved attention. This research on the alternative model of PDs in
older adults will provide a breakthrough by validating two dimensional
criteria in older adults: Criterion A, capturing the overall personality
functioning and criterium B describing PD style by pathological traits.
Our clinical research in older adults will advance general academic
knowledge by addressing issues shared across ages: providing a
common nosology for PDs, disentangling pathological traits and
personality functioning and building evidence for a comprehensive
conceptualization of mental disorders integrating major personality
dimensions and psychopathology. Also, in societal terms, this
research will have a high impact as this will lead to a better insight
and diagnosis of PDs in older adults.
Effective start/end date1/11/2131/10/25


  • Personality Disorders in Older Adults
  • Dimensional Classification and Diagnosis
  • The Alternative Model for Assessment of Personality Disorders

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Developmental psychology and ageing not elsewhere classified
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychological assessment
  • Personality psychology


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