We all have different tastes, different opinions, different ways of doing things, and we even see the world in a different and personal way. We are unique people, shaped by both their biology and their life experiences. But we don’t cease to be members of the same species.
In this sense, it is possible to establish different personality types with a certain resemblance to each other, in which some basic elements are shared. And from the realm of psychology and psychiatry, these types of personalities they were organized into what are now called personality groups.
What does this concept mean? What is a personality cluster? Let’s take a look at it throughout this article.
What is personality?
Before examining what is called the concept of a personality group, it may be helpful to make a brief definition of its most important component: the personality.
We call the personality model or set of behaviors, cognitions, emotions, perspectives and ways of seeing and interpreting reality and relating to the environment and with ourselves what we are used to and tend to maintain relatively stable over time and across situations throughout life.
Personality is defined as we grow and throughout our life cycle, being shaped in part on the basis of our genes and on the basis of our experiences and learnings. This is what defines our way of being and acting, and in general, it is generally adaptive to relate effectively to the environment.
However, sometimes a number of circumstances cause us to acquire for some reason certain characteristics or ways of thinking or doing which, although they allow us to survive and adapt to the environment, can cause us great difficulties in areas such as interpersonal relationships, work or the ability to enjoy life, and can lead us to we generate or in our environment certain dysfunctions, discomfort and suffering.
This is the case with people who suffer from a personality disorder. And it is in relation to this type of disorder on which the three major types of commonly used personality clusters have developed, a concept that we will define below.
What is a personality cluster?
A cluster is understood to mean an organization or a way of classifying different variables of a quantitative type into different groups that include them according to a certain type of characteristic or common element.
So when we talk about a personality group we are referring to a grouping of different personality types that have some sort of element that allows them to be grouped together. That is, it is established the existence of common factors between different classes or types of personalities that allow to define to a large extent as a whole, so that the different categories are homogenized and included around this quality or that aspect.
The three personality groups
While it would be technically possible to make personality clusters based on different criteria, when we talk about this concept we usually refer to three in particular, those in which personality disorders have been classified and cataloged. In this sense, three major personality groups are currently considered, depending on the type of behavior they usually display.
Group A: Rare-eccentric
Group A includes those types of personality disorders which have as a common element the performance of acts and the maintenance of ways of thinking and interpreting the world considered extravagant and very unusual, sometimes resembling the functioning of the population with psychotic elements (although in this case we are talking about personality traits and not a disorder per se).
It is these behaviors and manners that generate dysfunction or discomfort in the subject. This group includes paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders..
Group B: unstable / dramatic-emotional
The grouping or organization of personality disorders known as group B refers to the set of personality disorders that have in common the presence of a strong emotivity, which is very labile, and tends to present dramatic and sometimes theatrical behavior.
The presence of a lack of control over emotions and ailments is frequently observed, as well as a certain distrust of others and / or their esteem. In this group we find antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders.
Group C: Fearful-anxious
This third cluster integrates a set of disorders which have in common the presence of a high level of fear or anxiety (or not), which leads them to act in such a way as to decrease as much as possible. The axis or core of much of their behavior is to avoid the dreaded. as well it is common for there to be a low tolerance for uncertainty.
In group C we find avoidant, addictive and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.
A useful concept, but not as closed as it seems
The concept of a personality group, in terms of at least the three commonly used types, was first used in 1980 with the DSM-III. This was done for the purpose of performing a grouping of personality disorders to classify the disorders more simply, at the same time that new research on this type of alteration has been encouraged.
Since then, personality clusters have been commonly used to identify the sphere in which personality disorders operate. This does not mean that they are used to diagnose (since the cluster is not a diagnosis per se nor does it establish it), but it can give an idea of the kind of characteristics or implications that a specific problem has. can have in the daily life of a subject.
However, while grouping can be very useful in establishing delineated categories between different personality types, the truth is that performing various factor analyzes does not consistently confirm that these clusters are still so tight and separated from each other: for example, in clinical practice, it is not uncommon for the same patient to present characteristics and even disorders belonging to different clusters.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
- Buratti Hamlin, M., Cases Losada, A., Comte Estimat, M., Fernández Ferro, J., Menéndez flowers, G., Forti Sampietro, L., Martínez Valente, J. and Vega Candán, MJ (2015). Personality: exploration, diagnosis and treatment. GALLEGO Forum. STUDY of personality. ADAMÉ.
- Millon, D. (2007). Millia-III multiaxial clinical inventory (MCMI-III). Professional manual. Madrid, TEA Ediciones SA
- Millon, T. (1997). Personality Disorders: DSM-IV and above. New York: Wiley.