Histrionic Personality and Antisocial Personality: Caricatures of stereotypes?

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The proposal that the diagnoses Histrionic personality and Antisocial Personality represent sex-role caricatures of the concepts "woman" and "man", respectively, was examined utilizing the semantic differential technique for the assessment of connotative meanings. Twenty-eight psychiatric residents and 21 academic psychiatrists rated the concepts "woman", "man", "histrionic personality", and "antisocial personality" on each of 15 bipolar adjectival scales. No important differences were found between the ratings made by male or female psychiatrists or by resident and faculty psychiatrists. The subjects clearly distinguished between the connotative meanings of "woman" and "histrionic personality" and between "man" and "antisocial personality", though there was a greater resemblance between the first pair of concepts than between the second. The linkages in meaning between women and the diagnosis Histrinic Personality are discussed, and it is proposed that the concept of sex-role caricatures be abandoned since the political overtones of the term "caricature" tend to undermine the empirical work needed to validate or reject clinical diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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