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Avoidant Personality Disorder

  1. Andri S. Bjornsson

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0105

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bjornsson, A. S. 2010. Avoidant Personality Disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Colorado at Boulder

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


At the core of avoidant personality disorder (APD) as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is an extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation that, coupled with a view of self as incompetent and inferior to others, leads to pervasive avoidance in a number of social situations (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). People with this disorder may, for example, refrain from trying new activities for fear of failure. They are also likely to be inhibited in relationships, even with family members, for fear of shame and ridicule. This leads to isolation and a lack of close relationships, and often to secondary disorders such as major depressive disorder. This negative cycle is not a function of disinterest in intimate relationships. Rather, the fear of negative evaluation is so intense as to outweigh the deep-seated longing to interact with others.