A brief explanation of how gender may influence diagnoses of clients with personality disorders. Then, explain one controversy associated with the diagnosis of women with borderline personality disorder and one controversy associated with the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder in men.
The discussion of gender influence in the diagnosis of patients generally arises from the theories of evolutionary/biological psychologist who may propose that there are genetic and physiological gender difference that may affect the rate of occurrence and diagnosis of personality disorders. There is also some discussion among those who attribute certain cultural and psycho-social gender influences on the rate of occurrence among the population. What is being considered in this discussion is gender biases in diagnosing patients. In other words looking for and diagnosing men at a higher rate than women with specific disorders vs. women. The DSM-IV-TR makes no specific statement about gender bias however, it does mention that six disorders (schizoid, antisocial, paranoid, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, schizotypal) more frequently found among men. Three disorders, (borderline, histrionic, dependent) are more frequent in women (DSM-IV-TR). Presumably, these statements are the result of a statistical analysis of the rates of diagnosis; however, the difficultly in relying on such analysis is the difficulty of ruling out gender bias on the part of the diagnostician or therapist. It is also difficult to rule out the possibility of researcher created artifacts that augment or give the allusion of bias or higher occurrence rates of certain disorders among the genders. In other words we can look at the statistics and see a higher percentage of occurrence of certain PD's in gender populations but we have yet to in most cases discovered a causal link through research. Outside of the probability of bias, we have no answer for the question why this phenomenon occurs.
This is potentially very fruitful area of research. The DSM-IV-TR is meant to provide an objective and as much as possible measurable diagnostic criteria for the disorders of concern to the field of psychologist. It would seem that if would be very important to be able to ...
How the gender effects diagnoses of personality disorders are determined.