Prevalence of Personality Disorders in Criminal Offenders: A Meta-Analysis

Ashley Pierson, Fordham University


Research demonstrates an association between major mental illness and criminal offending. Although many studies report the prevalence of Antisocial Personality Disorder, fewer provide comprehensive rates for other DSM and ICD personality disorder diagnoses. The existing literature is characterized by a wide range of rates for personality disorder diagnosis (i.e., 6 to 99%), and many differences in study methodology, such as sample selection, participant characteristics, setting, and method of diagnosis. The present study represents the first attempt to systematically analyze the rates of all DSM and ICD personality disorder diagnoses in criminal offenders according to aspects of study methodology. The point estimate for the overall rate of any PD across all identified studies was 63.4%. The nature in which personality disorders were assessed (i.e., self-report measure, structured/semi-structured measure, clinician/chart review) had the greatest impact on PD prevalence rates compared to any other aspect of study methodology. The impact of moderators varied substantially across the different PD's diagnoses. APD was most often impacted by study variables.

Subject Area

Psychology|Personality psychology|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Pierson, Ashley, "Prevalence of Personality Disorders in Criminal Offenders: A Meta-Analysis" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI1601343.