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Typical features of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are difficulties in establishing
and sustaining close relationships, associated with rigid perfectionism, inflexibility,
and restricted emotional expression. Characteristic difficulties are apparent in identity,
self-direction, empathy, and/or intimacy, as described below, along with specific maladaptive
traits in the domains of Negative Affectivity and/or Detachment.
Proposed Diagnostic Criteria
A. Moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning, manifested by characteristic
difficulties in two or more of the following four areas:
1. Identity: Sense of self derived predominantly from work or productivity; constricted
experience and expression of strong emotions.
2. Self-direction: Difficulty completing tasks and realizing goals, associated with rigid
and unreasonably high and inflexible internal standards of behavior; overly conscientious
and moralistic attitudes.
3. Empathy: Difficulty understanding and appreciating the ideas, feelings, or behaviors
4. Intimacy: Relationships seen as secondary to work and productivity; rigidity and
stubbornness negatively affect relationships with others.
B. Three or more of the following four pathological personality traits, one of which must
be (1) Rigid perfectionism:
1. Rigid perfectionism (an aspect of extreme Conscientiousness [the opposite pole
of Detachment]): Rigid insistence on everything being flawless, perfect, and without
errors or faults, including one’s own and others’ performance; sacrificing of timeliness
to ensure correctness in every detail; believing that there is only one right way
to do things; difficulty changing ideas and/or viewpoint; preoccupation with details,
organization, and order.
2. Perseveration (an aspect of Negative Affectivity): Persistence at tasks long after
the behavior has ceased to be functional or effective; continuance of the same behavior
despite repeated failures.
3. Intimacy avoidance (an aspect of Detachment): Avoidance of close or romantic
relationships, interpersonal attachments, and intimate sexual relationships.4. Restricted affectivity (an aspect of Detachment): Little reaction to emotionally
arousing situations; constricted emotional experience and expression; indifference
Specifiers. Trait and personality functioning specifiers may be used to record additional
personality features that may be present in obsessive-compulsive personality disorder but are
not required for the diagnosis. For example, other traits of Negative Affectivity (e.g., anxiousness)
are not diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (see Criterion B)
but can be specified when appropriate. Furthermore, although moderate or greater impairment
in personality functioning is required for the diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality
disorder (Criterion A), the level of personality functioning can also be specified.