World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sadistic personality disorder


Sadistic personality disorder

Sadistic personality disorder
Classification and external resources
Specialty Psychiatry

Sadistic personality disorder is a personality disorder diagnosis involving sadism which appeared in an appendix of the revised third edition of the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R).[1] The later versions of the DSM (DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5) do not include it.


  • Definition 1
  • Comorbidity with other personality disorders 2
  • Removal from the DSM 3
  • Subclinical sadism in personality psychology 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Sadism involves gaining pleasure from seeing others undergo discomfort or pain. The opponent-process theory explains the way in which individuals not only display, but also take enjoyment in committing sadistic acts.[2] Individuals possessing sadistic personalities tend to display recurrent aggression and cruel behavior.[3][4] Sadism can also include the use of emotional cruelty, purposefully manipulating others through the use of fear, and a preoccupation with violence.[5]

Theodore Millon claimed there were four subtypes of sadism, which he termed Enforcing sadism, Explosive sadism, Spineless sadism, and Tyrannical sadism.[6][7][8]

Comorbidity with other personality disorders

Sadistic Personality Disorder is found to occur in unison with other personality disorders. Studies have also found that sadistic personality disorder is the personality disorder with the highest level of comorbidity to other types of psychopathological disorders.[5] In contrast, sadism has also been found in patients who do not display any or other forms of psychopathic disorders.[9] One personality disorder that is often found to occur alongside sadistic personality disorder is conduct disorder, not an adult disorder but one of childhood and adolescence.[5] Studies have found other types of illnesses, such as alcoholism, to have a high rate of comorbidity with sadistic personality disorder.[10]

Researchers have had some level of difficulty distinguishing sadistic personality disorder from other forms of personality disorders due to its high level of comorbidity with other disorders.[5]

Removal from the DSM

Numerous theorists and clinicians introduced Sadistic Personality Disorder to the DSM in 1987 and it was placed in the DSM-III-R as a way to facilitate further systematic clinical study and research. It was proposed to be included because of adults who possessed sadistic personality traits but were not being labeled, even though their victims were being labeled with a self-defeating personality disorder.[11] Theorists like Theodore Millon wanted to generate further study on SPD, and so proposed it to the DSM-IV Personality Disorder Work Group, who rejected it.[6]

Subclinical sadism in personality psychology

There is renewed interest in studying sadism as a non-disordered personality trait.[4][12] Everyday sadism joins with subclinical psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism to form the so-called "dark tetrad" of personality.[4][13]

See also


  1. ^ Hucker, Stephen J. Sadistic Personality Disorder
  2. ^ Reidy D.E., Zeichner A., Seibert L.A. (2011). "Unprovoked aggression: Effects of psychopathic traits and sadism". Journal of Personality 79 (1): 75–100.  
  3. ^ "Contributions of psychopathic, narcissistic, Machiavellian, and sadistic personality traits to juvenile delinquency". Personality and Individual Differences 47: 734–739.  
  4. ^ a b c Buckels, E. E.; Jones, D. N.; Paulhus, D. L. (2013). "Behavioral confirmation of everyday sadism". Psychological Science 24 (11): 2201–9.  
  5. ^ a b c d "Sadistic Personality Disorder and Comorbid Mental Illness in Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatients" (PDF). 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  6. ^ a b Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond
  7. ^ Personality Disorders in Modern Life. 
  8. ^ Million, Theodore, Ph.D., D.Sc. "Personality Subtypes: Sadistic Personality Subtypes". Institute for Advanced Studies in Personology and Psychopathology. 
  9. ^ "Unprovoked Aggression: Effects of Psychopathic Traits and Sadism". Journal of Personality 79: 75–100.  
  10. ^ "Prevalence and characteristics of sadistic personality disorder in an outpatient veterans population". Psychiatry Research 48: 267–276.  
  11. ^ Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology
  12. ^ O’Meara, A; Davies, J; Hammond, S. (2011). "The psychometric properties and utility of the Short Sadistic Impulse Scale (SSIS)". Psychological Assessment 23 (2): 523–531.  
  13. ^ Chabrol H., Van Leeuwen, N., Rodgers, R., & Sejourne, N. (2009). Contributions of psychopathic, narcissistic, Machiavellian, and sadistic personality traits to juvenile delinquency. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(7), 734-739.
  • Blaney, P. H., Millon, T. (2009). Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Davis, R., Millon, T. (2000). Personality Disorders in Modern Life. Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Livesley, J. (1995). The dsm-iv personality disorders. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Retrieved from personality disorder&ots=m2I7JMlnTk&sig=XdQKYfYj7ydGJ0EK9qE33LBxdFs
  • McCartney, M. (2011, April 21). Understanding sadistic personality disorder . Retrieved from
  • Million, T. (1996). Disorders of Personality DSM-IV and Beyond. New York: Wiley-Interscience Publication.
  • Myers W.C., Burket R.C., Husted D.S. (2006). "Sadistic personality disorder and comorbid mental illness in adolescent psychiatric inpatients" (PDF). Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online 34 (1): 61–71. 
  • Pacana, G. (2011, MARCH 02). Sadists and sadistic personality disorder.
  • Reich J (1992). "Prevalence and characteristics of sadistic personality disorder in an outpatient veterans population". Psychiatry Research 48: 267–276.  

External links

  • Psychological Profile of Washington, D.C.-Area Sniper provides some excellent theoretical descriptions of the sadistic personality.
  • PTypes - Sadistic Personality Disorder
  • - Institute for Advanced Studies in Personality & Psychology Trait details & visual reference
  • - a page about it
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.