Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


This study was designed to determine whether or not self-defeating personality disorder can be accurately diagnosed by psychologists from written case studies. Additionally, the study attempted to determine the extent of overlap between self-defeating personality disorder and dependent personality disorder. Psychologists were identified from the Ohio Psychological Association and were sent a questionnaire through the mail. They were asked to read six case studies and, if they believed one of the diagnoses was appropriate, select an Axis II diagnosis from four choices provided. Three of the four self-defeating cases were accurately diagnosed at a rate significantly greater than chance. Female subjects more accurately diagnosed self-defeating personality disorder than did male subjects. Psychologists also were asked to rate each case along several personality dimensions, including self-defeating and dependent. Four of the six cases had nonsignificant correlations between ratings of self-defeating and dependent personality dimensions. One case written to represent self-defeating personality disorder had a negative correlation between self-defeating and dependent. A case written to represent borderline personality disorder had a positive correlation between self-defeating and dependent ratings. These results suggest that psychologists can accurately diagnose self-defeating personality disorder from written case studies and that, in general, a self-defeating personality dimension exists independently from a dependent personality dimension. Such a finding has direct implications for the inclusion of self-defeating personality disorder in future diagnostic manuals.


Self-defeating behavior, Dependency (Psychology)

Rights Statement

Copyright © 1994, author