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Pathological Altruism$
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Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, Guruprasad Madhavan, and David Sloan Wilson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738571

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738571.001.0001

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Pathological Altruism and Personality Disorder

Pathological Altruism and Personality Disorder

Chapter:
Chapter 6 Pathological Altruism and Personality Disorder
Source:
Pathological Altruism
Author(s):

Thomas A. Widiger

Jennifer Ruth Presnall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738571.003.0068

The purpose of this chapter is to understand pathological altruism from the perspective of personality theory and research. Altruism is one of the facets of a well-validated dimension of general personality structure. This dimension—agreeableness—has both adaptive and maladaptive variants. Some maladaptive variants of altruism (e.g., excessive self-sacrifice) are part of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic criteria for a dependent personality disorder. Empirical support for this conceptualization of pathological altruism is discussed, along with two case illustrations.

Keywords:   dependent personality disorder, five-factor model, pathological altruism

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