What are Cluster B Traits?

Cluster B is one of three clusters of personality disorders listed in Axis II by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). There is also a separate category for personality disorders whose symptoms who not fit the criteria for those listed in the three Axis II cluster groups. What are Cluster B traits?

Cluster B traits are used by psychologists to help determine if a patient is suffering from a recognised mental health disorder. If they display certain traits as per the DSM-IV, the patient may be diagnosed as suffering one of four personality disorders.

What is the difference between Cluster B traits and Cluster A and C traits?

According to the DSM-IV, Cluster A traits are defined as odd or eccentric personality disorders and includes schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder. Cluster C traits are defined as anxious or fearful personality disorders, which includes obsessive compulsive disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder.

The Cluster B group of personality disorders is characterised by emotional, dramatic, or erratic personality disorders and includes antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. These symptoms are sometimes described as “counter-social” behavioural patterns—in other words, traits that inhibit social interaction with others.

What are Cluster B traits in antisocial personality disorder?

People with antisocial personality disorder (also known as sociopaths or psychopaths) display impulsivity, dishonesty, and deceit, and have a tendency to show little regard for the feelings of others. They are also prone to promiscuous sexual or deviant behaviour, violent and sadistic tendencies, and a complete lack or guilt or remorse for their actions. People with antisocial personality disorder are most likely to be male.

What are Cluster B traits in borderline personality disorder?

People with borderline personality disorder are prone to erratic behaviour, extreme mood swings, and highly fraught personal relationships. They tend to have a very unstable self-image and their personal relationships are usually more intense than other personality disorders, mainly because they have severe abandonment issues and react badly when they feel ignored or un-nurtured by someone they care about. Borderline patients are most likely to be female.

What are Cluster B traits in histrionic personality disorder?

People with histrionic personality disorder have a flair for the dramatic and are much given to exaggerated emotional outbursts and attention seeking. This can make relationships very difficult and life with a person suffering from histrionic personality disorder is one long diva style tantrum, which is why people with this disorder often have highly erratic relationship patterns. Histrionic personality disorder patients often use overtly sexualised behaviour as a way of seeking more attention and sympathy from others.

What are Cluster B traits in narcissistic personality disorder?

One of the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder is grandiosity, or an exaggerated belief in one’s own self importance. Narcissists want to be admired and love being the centre of attention. They exploit those around them for their own ends, but are unable to recognise the innate selfishness in their behaviour because they lack empathy for the feelings of others. Narcissistic personality disorder tends to be more common in successful high achievers.

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