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Paranoid Personality Disorder

  1. Robert G. Harper

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0637

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Harper, R. G. 2010. Paranoid Personality Disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Baylor College of Medicine

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Most people recognize the term paranoid as unwarranted suspiciousness or mistrust of others' actions or intentions due to belief that others are seeking harm or harboring ill will toward them. Anyone can have such concerns for a time, but when it becomes a pervasive and enduring feature of one's way of dealing with the world, then this can constitute a paranoid personality disorder. Among mental health disciplines, there is consensual agreement reflected in the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM; the gold standard for diagnosis of psychiatric disorders) that a personality disorder is an enduring, inflexible pattern of behavior across a broad range of functional contexts that produces either clinically significant personal distress or disruption and impairment in a person's social, occupational, or “other important areas of functioning” (APA, 2000). The prevalence of paranoid personality disorder (PPD) has been estimated to range from 0.5–2.5% in the general population, to be four times more prevalent in outpatient psychiatric settings, and to occur 10–30% in inpatient psychiatric facilities (APA, 2000). It is also thought to be more prevalent among males. Though it is a comparatively uncommon condition, its impact can be pervasive. Many would agree that dramatic examples in history of paranoid personalities include Joseph Stalin and perhaps Saddam Hussein.