There is a paucity of research on antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) in the geriatric population and the majority of knowledge on the disorder is drawn from young adult samples. Researchers posit that the prevalence of ASPD as well as other personality disorders (PDs) is underestimated among older adults. Using a nationally representative sample, the present study examines the prevalence and correlates of ASPD in adults ages 50 and older.
We analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions Waves I and III. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed to investigate associations between ASPD and sociodemographic characteristics. A series of logistic regression analyses were also conducted to study associations between ASPD and medical conditions (liver and cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and stomach ulcer), major psychiatric disorders (lifetime major depressive disorder, mania, and generalized anxiety disorder), and substance use disorders (lifetime alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and nicotine use disorders).
Findings indicated that the prevalence of ASPD increases through early adulthood, with a peak at 3.91% in younger adults and decline to 0.78% in adults ages ≥65. Older adults with ASPD are more likely to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder, major depression, mania, and generalized anxiety disorder as well as each medical condition.
Older adults with ASPD experience increased rates of medical and psychiatric comorbidities. These conditions exacerbate the existing challenges associated with diagnosing and treating this population and may have serious consequences for the patient, their caregivers and society.