A list of the 142 diagnostic criteria for the DSM-III-R personality
disorders was sent to a national sample of psychiatrists and clinical
psychologists. The criteria were presented in randomly scrambled order, and
clinicians were asked to assign the criteria to their parent categories.
The average clinician assigned 66% of the criteria to the actual parent
categories. These results suggest that the face validity of many of the
DSM-III-R personality disorder criteria is low. Moreover, it appears that
there are high levels of overlap in meaning among the criteria for the
histrionic/narcissistic, avoidant/dependent, and schizotypal/paranoid pairs
of personality disorders.