Research Criteria

A. A pervasive pattern of depressive cognitions and behaviors beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. usual mood is dominated by dejection, gloominess, cheerlessness, joylessness, unhappiness
  2. self-concept centers around beliefs of inadequacy, worthlessness, and low self-esteem
  3. is critical, blaming, and derogatory toward self
  4. is brooding and given to worry
  5. is negativistic, critical, and judgmental towards others
  6. is pessimistic
  7. is prone to feeling guilty or remorseful

B. Does not occur exclusively during Major Depressive Episodes and is not better accounted for by Dysthymic Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

In DSM-IV, individuals whose presentation meets these research criteria would be diagnosed as having Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Depressive Disorders

It remains controversial whether the distinction between depressive personality disorder and Dysthymic Disorder is useful. The research criteria given for this proposed disorder differ from the diagnostic criteria for Dysthymic Disorder by their emphasis on cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapsychic personality traits. This proposed disorder should not be considered if the symptoms are better accounted for by Dysthymic Disorder or if they occur exclusively during Major Depressive Episodes.

Normal depressive traits

This proposed disorder differs from so-called normal depressive traits (e.g., unhappiness, pessimism, self-criticism, and proneness to guilt) in that the pattern is pervasive and caused marked distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning.

Other mental disorders

The relationship between this proposed disorder and several other proposed categories (i.e., minor depressive disorder, recurrent brief depressive disorder, and mixed anxiety-depressive disorder) and with other Personality Disorders is not known, but substantial overlap may exist among them.


See Other Specified Personality Disorder and Other Specified Depressive Disorder

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