Solitude and Personality Disorders

Kevin B. Meehan, Kenneth N. Levy, Christina M. Temes, Jonathan J. Detrixhe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Whereas some individuals with personality disorders experience intense desires for emotional closeness, others find emotional closeness difficult and distressing. Regardless, those with personality disorders are often characterized by experiences of loneliness, isolation, and distressing solitude. Despite this phenomenological experience, surprisingly few links have been made between personality disorders and solitude research. In this chapter, we integrate these domains through literature that links each to the development of secure and reliable mental representations. Individuals with personality disorders may struggle with aloneness due to disruptions in the internalization of representations of consistently present and reliable others. In this context, we discuss personality development and the central role of internalizing secure mental representations in achieving the capacity to be alone. We further discuss how solitude is experienced and behaviorally expressed in a variety of personality disorders based on core deficits in identity and relatedness. Finally, future directions for theory and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Solitude
Subtitle of host publicationPsychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118427378
ISBN (Print)9781118427361
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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