What are the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for avoidant personality disorder?

Updated: Nov 12, 2019
  • Author: David C Rettew, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Avoidant personality disorder is a clinical diagnosis based on history combined with direct behavioral observation and mental status examination. According to the DSM5, criteria for diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder in adults are met when a patient exhibits 4 or more of the behaviors below. No formal modification has been made for children. [1]

  • Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

  • Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

  • Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

  • Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

  • Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

  • Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Primary Care, Child and Adolescent Version (DSM-PC), the diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder is not used; however, social phobia is mentioned.

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