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November 1954

CLINICAL ASSESSMENT OF PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE PERSONALITY

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;72(5):540-549. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02330050010002
Abstract

THE DIAGNOSIS "passive-aggressive personality" in 1945 was incorporated into a War Department Technical Bulletin1 which dealt with medical nomenclature. The Veterans Administration used this nomenclature experimentally in several large psychiatric centers and, on the basis of uniform approval from these centers, recommended its adoption in 1946. The Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics of the American Psychiatric Association, utilizing this experience, published a new "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [for] Mental Disorders" in 1952.2

In this diagnostic manual, passive-aggressive personality is a subdivision of personality trait disturbance in which neurotic features are relatively insignificant and the basic personality maldevelopment is the crucial distinguishing factor.

The manual lists three subdivisions of passive-aggressive personality: passive-dependent type, passive-aggressive type, and aggressive type. These personality types are described in the manual as follows:

Passive-Dependent Type: This reaction is characterized by helplessness, indecisiveness, and a tendency to cling to others as a dependent child to

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