In conjunction with the Epidemiological Catchment Area (ECA) survey conducted in Baltimore, MD, a two-stage probability sample of community subjects was developed with a full psychiatric examination employing DSM-III criteria. This report details the observations on those subjects diagnosed with the DSM-III diagnosis Histrionic Personality Disorder. The results indicate that this condition can be diagnosed reliably and that it is a valid construct. It has a prevalence of 2·1 % in a general population. Males and females are equally affected, suggesting that prior reports of an increased prevalence in females was an expression of ascertainment bias found in hospital-based studies. The diagnosis is associated with clear evidence of disturbance in the emotional, behavioural, and social realms. Individuals with this disorder tend to use health care facilities more frequently than others.
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