Subjective experience of the origin and development of avoidant personality disorder

To better understand how persons diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) make sense of the origin and development of their current everyday struggles.

Abstract

Objective: To better understand how persons diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) make sense of the origin and development of their current everyday struggles.

Methods: Persons with AVPD (N  = 15) were interviewed twice using semi‐structured qualitative interviews, which were analyzed through interpretative‐phenomenological analysis. Persons with the first‐hand experience of AVPD were included in the research.

Results: The superordinate theme, “a story of becoming forlorn,” encompassed three main themes: “it goes all the way back to when I was little,” “there was a distance between others and me,” and “transitions made it worse.”

Conclusions: Though the results are not necessarily specific to AVPD, the findings clarify how people with AVPD can make sense of their current struggles by constructing developmental life stories in the interplay between themselves as persons and the growing demands of their social world. Furthermore, childhood relational vulnerabilities may challenge the ongoing development of social cognition and skills.

Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2020, 1–17

Published Aug. 17, 2020 6:00 AM