AP Psychology : Personality Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Personality Disorders

A client is presented for psychological evaluation with the following symptoms:
-Need for social isolation
-Anxiety in social situations
-Odd behavior and thinking
-Unconventional beliefs
-Odd reactions to conversations
-Misinterpreting situations or believing situations to have a strange meaning

Which of the following diagnoses might be appropriate for this individual?

Possible Answers:

Schizotypal personality disorder

Schizophrenia

Major depressive disorder

None of these

Generalized anxiety disorder

Correct answer:

Schizotypal personality disorder

Explanation:

Schizotypal personality disorder affects about 3% of the population. It can be a precursor for Schizophrenia but often has a stable course and can be diagnosed by the symptoms provided in the question. Schizotypal personality disorder can be confused with schizophrenia. The main difference between the two disorders is that people with schizotypal personalities may experience brief psychotic episodes accompanied by delusions or hallucinations; however, these delusional episodes are not as frequent, prolonged, or intense as the psychosis experienced by individuals with schizophrenia.

Example Question #11 : Personality Disorders

According to the DSM-V, which of the following statements is true regarding personality disorders?

Possible Answers:

Personality disorders are more commonly seen in indigenous countries.  

Personality disorders are easily treatable with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Personality disorders are typically diagnosed in adulthood.

Personality disorders are not included in the DSM-V because the DSM-V focuses on developmental psychiatric illnesses. 

Personality disorders are not comorbid with other psychiatric illnesses. 

Correct answer:

Personality disorders are typically diagnosed in adulthood.

Explanation:

Personality disorders are not typically diagnosed until age 18. Children with symptoms of certain personality disorders may be diagnosed with other developmental psychiatric illnesses like conduct disorder (CD). 

Example Question #12 : Personality Disorders

Which personality disorder is characterized by unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships?

Possible Answers:

Histrionic personality disorder

Avoidant personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder

Schizoid personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder

Correct answer:

Borderline personality disorder

Explanation:

The essential components of "borderline personality disorder" include a pattern of impulsivity and instability of behaviors, interpersonal relationships, and self-image. This personality disorder typically begins in early adulthood (ages 18-25), but has temperamental underpinnings in childhood and adolescence. 

Example Question #13 : Personality Disorders

When John returned from the war in Iraq, he began to experience intense symptoms of anxiety without improvement over time. Which of the following is John most likely exhibiting? 

Possible Answers:

Post-traumatic stress

Social phobia

Panic

Agoraphobia

Generalized anxiety

Correct answer:

Post-traumatic stress

Explanation:

"Post-traumatic stress" is an anxiety disorder characterized by intense periods of anxiety after intense trauma. Examples of such trauma include warfare, car accidents, assault, etc. They are known to continue for long periods of time. As John has returned from warfare and his anxiety seems to be continuing, it is likely that he is experiencing post-traumatic stress. 

Example Question #11 : Personality Disorders

A pervasive and inflexible pattern of maladaptive behavior is the defining feature of which class of disorders?

Possible Answers:

Anxiety disorders

Mood disorders

Trauma-related disorders

Personality disorders

Correct answer:

Personality disorders

Explanation:

Personality disorders are set apart from other disorders due to their inflexible nature over time. The theory is that the dysfunction/distress stems from deviations in personality that are much more difficult to change compared to the causes of other kinds of mental disorders. 

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