, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 219-228
Date: 13 Oct 2012

Prevalence of DSM-IV Personality Disorders in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Controlled Study

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It is not yet clear whether chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is associated with elevated levels of personality disorders.


This study aims to determine the prevalence of DSM-IV axis II personality disorders among patients with CFS.


We examined the prevalence of personality disorders in a sample of 92 female CFS patients and in two well-matched control groups, i.e., normal community individuals (N = 92) and psychiatric patients (N = 92). Participants completed the assessment of DSM-IV personality disorders questionnaire (ADP-IV), which yields a categorical and dimensional evaluation of personality disorder features.


The prevalence of personality disorders in CFS patients (16.3 %) was significantly lower than in psychiatric patients (58.7 %) and was similar to that in the community sample (16.3 %). Similar results were found for dimensional and pseudodimensional scores, except for the Depressive (DE) and Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder (O-C) subscales. Patients with CFS had significantly higher levels of DE features compared to normal controls and similar dimensional scores on the O-C scale compared to psychiatric controls.


Although the CFS sample was characterized by depressive and obsessive–compulsive personality features, this study provides no evidence for the assumption that these patients generally show a higher prevalence of axis II pathology. Given the conflicting findings in this area, future studies using multiple measures to assess personality disorders in CFS are needed to substantiate these findings.