Important progress in our understanding of the natural course of per-sonality disorders (PDs) is documented in the articles for this special section. This progress could set the stage for ideas developed in the study of PDs to play a central role in research on psychopathology more broadly conceived. The Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disor-ders Study (Skodol et al., this issue), the Children in the Community Study (Cohen, Crawford, Johnson, & Kasen, this issue), and the McLean Study of Adult Development (Zanarini, Frankenburg, Hennen, Reich, & Silk, this issue) reveal the importance of personality in under-standing psychopathology, and point toward a dimensional approach to conceptualizing psychopathology that could also frame categorical clinical decision making processes. Here are a few potential misconceptions regarding personality disorders (PDs): • PDs are not really worth studying, especially when compared with more “serious ” mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar ill-ness. • This is because PDs cannot be diagnosed reliably enough to study them successfully. • This is also because the social costs of PDs are unclear, especially compared with more “serious ” mental disorders. • Moreover, the prognosis for PDs is poor, so why should we devote re-search effort to studying these hopeless conditions? The articles in this special section of the Journal of Personality Disorders are key contributions because they present the empirical evidence needed to correct these erroneous presumptions. PDs can be diagnosed reliably, especially when measured dimensionally. The social costs of PDs are no
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