AP Psychology : Personality Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #77 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which personality disorder is characterized by attention-seeking behavior and extreme emotionality?

Possible Answers:

Schizotypal personality disorder

Schizoid personality disorder

Histrionic personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder

Avoidant personality disorder

Correct answer:

Histrionic personality disorder

Explanation:

People with histrionic personality disorder feel highly uncomfortable and/or offended when they are not the center of attention. They have rapidly shifting emotions, which are used to garner attention from others. 

Example Question #1 : Personality Disorders

Which of the following is not considered a personality disorder?

Possible Answers:

Histrionic disorder

Schizoid disorder

Borderline disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Antisocial disorder

Correct answer:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Explanation:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder, not a personality disorder.

The other listed conditions are all personality disorders.

Example Question #2 : Personality Disorders

Which DSM-IV axis includes all personality disorders?

Possible Answers:

Axis I

Axis IV

Axis V

Axis III

Axis II

Correct answer:

Axis II

Explanation:

The multi-axial system of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) was created in 1994 to address the "whole person" when making psychiatric diagnoses.

Axis I refers to the principal disorder in question (e.g., schizophrenia), axis II refers to personality disorders, axis III lists medical disorders that impact a client's psychiatric state, axis IV takes psychosocial factors into account (e.g., recent divorce leading to depression), and axis V gives an overall global functioning score on a scale of 0-100.

Example Question #3 : Personality Disorders

Which of the following psychiatric disorders is more common among women than men?

Possible Answers:

Antisocial personality disorder

Depression

ADHD

Autism

Schizophrenia

Correct answer:

Depression

Explanation:

Women are more likely to suffer from internalizing disorders, including depression and anxiety. Men are more likely to suffer from externalizing disorders, including antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse disorder, and conduct disorder.

Example Question #4 : Personality Disorders

On which axis of the DSM-IV are personality disorders diagnosed?

Possible Answers:

Axis IV

Axis III

Axis V

Axis II

Axis I

Correct answer:

Axis II

Explanation:

Personality disorders are diagnosed on axis II of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). However, the multiple axes have been abolished in the latest version of the DSM, called the DSM-V. Some of the most common personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Example Question #5 : Personality Disorders

Which of the following is characteristic of histrionic personality disorder?

Possible Answers:

Dependency on others' approval and attention for a sense of self-worth, often manifesting in a dramatic presence and flirtacious behaviors

Fluctuating periods of extreme sadness and euphoria

Chronic dependency on family members, friends, or spouse for emotional needs, decision making, and general support with an inability to independently support one's own needs

Disorganized and delusional thinking, which is often reflected in incomprehensible and erratic behavior and speech

A lack of regard for others' feelings, accompanied by the belief that the world is a cruel place

Correct answer:

Dependency on others' approval and attention for a sense of self-worth, often manifesting in a dramatic presence and flirtacious behaviors

Explanation:

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a strong need for attention from others, and manifests in dramatic, exaggerated, and potentially overly flirtacious actions and behaviors. One who suffers from histrionic personality disorder may be uncomfortable if not the center of attention, and may even threaten to commit suicide in order to get it. This disorder is thought to be mainly the result of parenting, where the child may have never received negative attention or received positive attention inconsistently. The disorder tends to run in families, so a genetic component is possible, but this could also be a result of learned behavior from the parents.

Example Question #6 : Personality Disorders

What is a common occurrence amongst those diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder?

Possible Answers:

Obsessive thought patterns

None of these

Exaggerated or dramatic behavior

Intense mood swings between mania and anger

Criminal deviance

Correct answer:

Criminal deviance

Explanation:

Antisocial personality disorder is ultimately defined by a lack of empathy for other people and egocentrism, which entails a wide range of destructive symptoms. Many of those diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder disregard the division between right and wrong, and tend to tailor ethics to their own impulses, which can be destructive. As such, they can make harmful choices for which they could be incarcerated.  

Example Question #5 : Personality Disorders

The term insanity is __________.

Possible Answers:

None of the other answers is correct.

a colloquial term with no medical or legal significance

a medical diagnosis

very common

a legal definition

Correct answer:

a legal definition

Explanation:

Insanity is NOT a medical diagnosis, rather it is a legal definition used to evaluate a person's capacity to be legally held accountable for their actions. While "insanity" is often used colloquially, it DOES have legal significance.

Example Question #8 : Personality Disorders

Which of the following would least likely be true of a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Possible Answers:

He or she would feel and fear nothing.

He or she would most likely maintain low levels of cortisol while committing a crime.

He or she would not necessarily be a criminal.

He or she would show little regret.

He or she would show concern for his friends and family.

Correct answer:

He or she would show concern for his friends and family.

Explanation:

Antisocial Personality disorder is characterized by long-term patterns of behavior that disregard the rights and well-being of others. The individuals are known to show a lack of conscience when it comes to wrongdoing, regardless of their relationship to the wronged party. 

Example Question #8 : Personality Disorders

People who experience intensely unstable relationships, highly impulsive behaviors, aversion to abandonment, idealization and devaluation of people in relationships, and inappropriate anger or paranoid may be diagnosed with __________.

Possible Answers:

Delusional Schizophrenia

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Bipolar disorder

Correct answer:

Borderline Personality Disorder

Explanation:

Borderline Personality Disorder is categorized by traits such as unstable relationships full of distrust and/or idealization, issues with abandonment fears, emotions such as emptiness and anger at inappropriate times, paranoia, and impulsiveness.

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