Cluster B versus Cluster C Personality Disorders: A Comparison of Comorbidity, Suicidality, Traumatization and Global Functioning

Laura Y Massaal-van der Ree, Merijn Eikelenboom, Adriaan W Hoogendoorn, Kathleen Thomaes, Hein J F van Marle

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9 Citations (Scopus)


A general clinical assumption states that cluster B personality disorders (PDs) represent a more severe form of PD than cluster C PDs. Consequently, most PD research is centered on cluster B PDs (especially borderline PD). Yet, prevalence ratings of cluster C PDs exceed those of cluster B PDs. In this explorative, cross-sectional study, we compared cluster B and C PD patients (N = 94) on a wide range of clinically-relevant severity measures, including comorbidity, suicidality, (childhood) traumatization and global functioning. Results showed that, although cluster B PD patients suffered more often from substance use disorders and lifetime suicide attempts, no difference could be established between groups for all other severity measures, including trauma variables. In our study, we additionally included a group of combined cluster B and C PDs, who were largely similar to both other groups. Although our study is insufficiently powered to claim a significant non-difference, these findings emphasize that high rates of comorbidity, suicidality, childhood traumatization and functional impairment apply to both cluster B and C patients. As such, our findings encourage more research into cluster C PDs, ultimately leading to more evidence-based treatments for this prevalent patient group. In addition, the high level of traumatization across groups calls for a routine trauma screening, especially since PD treatment may benefit from concurrent trauma treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
JournalBehavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2022


  • (childhood) traumatization
  • comorbidity
  • global functioning
  • personality disorders
  • suicidality

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