Personality Disorders

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CH 34 NCLEX Style Practice Questions

During an assessment interview, a client diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder spits, curses, and refuses to answer questions. Which is the most appropriate nursing statement to address this behavior?
A. "You are very disrespectful. You need to learn to control yourself."
B. "I understand that you are angry, but this behavior will not be tolerated."
C. "What behaviors could you modify to improve this situation?"
D. "What anti-personality-disorder medications have helped you in the past?"

ANS: B
The appropriate nursing statement is to reflect the client's feeling while setting firm limits on behavior. Clients diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder have a low tolerance for frustration, see themselves as victims, and use projection as a primary ego defense mechanism. Antidepressants and anxiolytics are used for symptom relief; however, there are no specific medications targeted for the diagnosis of a personality disorder.

A client diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder comes to a nurses' station at 11:00 p.m. requesting to phone a lawyer to discuss filing for a divorce. The unit rules state that no phone calls are permitted after 10:00 p.m. Which nursing reply is most appropriate?
A. "Go ahead and use the phone. I know this pending divorce is stressful."
B. "You know better than to break the rules. I'm surprised at you."
C. "It is after the 10:00 p.m. phone curfew. You will be able to call tomorrow."
D. "The decision to divorce should not be considered until you have had a good night's sleep."

ANS: C
The most appropriate response by the staff is to restate the unit rules in a calm, assertive manner. Because of the probability of manipulative behavior in this client population, it is imperative to maintain consistent application of rules.

A client diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder becomes violent on a unit. Which nursing intervention is most appropriate?
A. Provide objective evidence, that violence is unwarranted.
B. Initially restrain the client to maintain safety.
C. Use clear, calm statements and a confident physical stance.
D. Empathize with the client's paranoid perceptions.

ANS: C
The most appropriate nursing intervention is to use clear, calm statements and to assume a confident physical stance. A calm attitude avoids escalating the aggressive behavior and provides the client with a feeling of safety and security. It may also be beneficial to have sufficient staff on hand to present a show of strength.

A highly emotional client presents at an outpatient clinic appointment wearing flamboyant attire, spiked heels, and theatrical makeup. Which personality disorder should a nurse associate with this assessment data?
A. Compulsive personality disorder
B. Schizotypal personality disorder
C. Histrionic personality disorder
D. Manic personality disorder

ANS: C
The nurse should associate histrionic personality disorder with this assessment data. Individuals diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder tend to be self-dramatizing, attention seeking, overly gregarious, and seductive. They often use manipulation and exhibitionism as a means of gaining attention.

A client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder brings up a conflict with the staff in a community meeting and develops a following of clients who unreasonably demand modification of unit rules. How can the nursing staff best handle this situation?
A. Allow the clients to apply the democratic process when developing unit rules.
B. Maintain consistency of care by open communication to avoid staff manipulation.
C. Allow the client spokesman to verbalize concerns during a unit staff meeting.
D. Maintain unit order by the application of autocratic leadership.

ANS: B
The nursing staff can best handle this situation by maintaining consistency of care by open communication to avoid staff manipulation. Clients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder can exhibit negative patterns of interaction such as clinging and distancing, splitting, manipulation, and self-destructive behaviors.

Which nursing approach should be used to maintain a therapeutic relationship with a client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder?
A. Being firm, consistent, and empathic, while addressing specific client behaviors
B. Promoting client self-expression by implementing laissez-faire leadership
C. Using authoritative leadership to help clients learn to conform to society norms
D. Overlooking inappropriate behaviors to avoid promoting secondary gains

ANS: A
The best nursing approach when working with a client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder is to be firm, consistent, and empathetic while addressing specific client behaviors. Individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder always seem to be in a state of crisis and can often have negative patterns of interaction such as manipulation and splitting.

Which adult client should a nurse identify as exhibiting the characteristics of a dependent personality disorder?
A. A physically healthy client who is dependent on meeting social needs by contact with 15 cats
B. A physically healthy client who has a history of depending on intense relationships to meet basic needs
C. A physically healthy client who lives with parents and relies on public transportation
D. A physically healthy client who is serious, inflexible, perfectionistic, and depends on rules to provide security

ANS: C
A physically healthy adult client who lives with parents and relies on public transportation exhibits signs of dependent personality disorder. Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior.

A pessimistic client expresses low self-worth, has much difficulty making decisions, avoids positions of responsibility, and has a behavioral pattern of "suffering" in silence. Which underlying cause of this client's personality disorder should a nurse recognize?
A. "Nurturance was provided from many sources, and independent behaviors were encouraged."
B. "Nurturance was provided exclusively from one source, and independent behaviors were discouraged."
C. "Nurturance was provided exclusively from one source, and independent behaviors were encouraged."
D. "Nurturance was provided from many sources, and independent behaviors were discouraged."

ANS: B
Nurturance provided from one source and discouragement of independent behaviors can attribute to the etiology of dependent personality disorder. Dependent behaviors may be rewarded by a parent who is overprotective and discourages autonomy.

Family members of a client ask a nurse to explain the difference between schizoid and avoidant personality disorders. Which is the appropriate nursing reply?
A. "Clients diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder desire intimacy but fear it, and clients diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder prefer to be alone."
B. "Clients diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder exhibit odd, bizarre, and eccentric behavior, while clients diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder do not."
C. "Clients diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder are eccentric, and clients diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder are dull and vacant."
D. "Clients diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder have a history of psychotic thought processes, while clients diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder remain based in reality."

ANS: A
The nurse should educate the family that clients diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder desire intimacy but fear it, while clients diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder prefer to be alone. Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by an extreme sensitivity to rejection which leads to social isolation. Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by a profound deficit in the ability to form personal relationships.

During an interview, which client statement indicates to a nurse that a potential diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder should be considered?
A. "I really don't have a problem. My family is inflexible, and every relative is out to get me."
B. "I am so excited about working with you. Have you noticed my new nail polish: 'Ruby Red Roses'?"
C. "I spend all my time tending my bees. I know a whole lot of information about bees."
D. "I am getting a message from the beyond that we have been involved with each other in a previous life."

ANS: D
The nurse should assess that a client who states that he or she is getting a message from the beyond indicates a potential diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder. Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder are aloof and isolated and behave in a bland and apathetic manner. The individual experiences magical thinking, ideas of reference, illusions, and depersonalization as part of daily life.

A nursing instructor is teaching students about clients diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder and the quality of their relationships. Which student statement indicates that learning has occurred?
A. "Their dramatic style tends to make their interpersonal relationships quite interesting and fulfilling."
B. "Their interpersonal relationships tend to be shallow and fleeting, serving their dependency needs."
C. "They tend to develop few relationships because they are strongly independent but generally maintain deep affection."
D. "They pay particular attention to details which can frustrate the development of relationships."

ANS: B
The instructor should evaluate that learning has occurred when the student describes clients diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder as having shallow, fleeting interpersonal relationships that serve their dependency needs. Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by colorful, dramatic, and extroverted behavior. These individuals also have difficulty maintaining long-lasting relationships.

Which nursing diagnosis should a nurse identify as appropriate when working with a client diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder?
A. Altered thought processes R/T increased stress
B. Risk for suicide R/T loneliness
C. Risk for violence: directed toward others R/T paranoid thinking
D. Social isolation R/T inability to relate to others

ANS: D
An appropriate nursing diagnosis when working with a client diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder is social isolation R/T inability to relate to others. Clients diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder appear cold, aloof, and indifferent to others. They prefer to work in isolation and are unsociable.

When planning care for a client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which self-harm behavior should a nurse expect the client to exhibit?
A. The use of highly lethal methods to commit suicide
B. The use of suicidal gestures to evoke a rescue response from others
C. The use of isolation and starvation as suicidal methods
D. The use of self-mutilation to decrease endorphins in the body

ANS: B
The nurse should expect that a client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder might use suicidal gestures to evoke a rescue response from others. Repetitive, self-mutilative behaviors are common in clients diagnosed with borderline personality disorders. These behaviors are generated by feelings of abandonment following separation from significant others.

Which client situation should a nurse identify as reflective of the impulsive behavior that is commonly associated with borderline personality disorder?
A. As the day shift nurse leaves the unit, the client suddenly hugs the nurse's arm and whispers, "The night nurse is evil. You have to stay."
B. As the day shift nurse leaves the unit, the client suddenly hugs the nurse's arm and states, "I will be up all night if you don't stay with me."
C. As the day shift nurse leaves the unit, the client suddenly hugs the nurse's arm, yelling, "Please don't go! I can't sleep without you being here."
D. As the day shift nurse leaves the unit, the client suddenly shows the nurse a bloody arm and states, "I cut myself because you are leaving me."

ANS: D
The client who states, "I cut myself because you are leaving me" reflects impulsive behavior that is commonly associated with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Repetitive, self-mutilative behaviors are common and are generated by feelings of abandonment following separation from significant others.

Which nursing diagnosis should be prioritized when providing care to a client diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder?
A. Risk for violence: directed toward others R/T suspicious thoughts
B. Risk for suicide R/T altered thought
C. Altered sensory perception R/T increased levels of anxiety
D. Social isolation R/T inability to relate to others

ANS: A
The priority nursing diagnosis for a client diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder should be risk for violence: directed toward others R/T suspicious thoughts. Clients diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder have a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others that may result in hostile actions to protect self. They are often tense and irritable, which increases the likelihood of violent behavior.

From a behavioral perspective, which nursing intervention is most appropriate when caring for a client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder?
A. Seclude the client when inappropriate behaviors are exhibited.
B. Contract with the client to reinforce positive behaviors with unit privileges.
C. Teach the purpose of antianxiety medications to improve medication compliance.
D. Encourage the client to journal feelings to improve awareness of abandonment issues.

ANS: B
The most appropriate nursing intervention from a behavioral perspective is to contract with the client to reinforce positive behaviors with unit privileges. Behavioral strategies offer reinforcement for positive change.

A nurse tells a client that the nursing staff will start alternating weekend shifts. Which response should a nurse identify as characteristic of clients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder?
A. "You really don't have to go by that schedule. I'd just stay home sick."
B. "There has got to be a hidden agenda behind this schedule change."
C. "Who do you think you are? I expect to interact with the same nurse every Saturday."
D. "You can't make these kinds of changes! Isn't there a rule that governs this decision?"

ANS: D
The nurse should identify that a client diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder would have a difficult time accepting change. This disorder is characterized by inflexibility and lack of spontaneity. Individuals diagnosed with this disorder are very serious, formal, over disciplined, perfectionistic, and preoccupied with rules.

Looking at a slightly bleeding paper cut, the client screams, "Somebody help me, quick! I'm bleeding. Call 911!" A nurse should identify this behavior as characteristic of which personality disorder?
A. Schizoid personality disorder
B. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
C. Histrionic personality disorder
D. Paranoid personality disorder

ANS: C
The nurse should identify this behavior as characteristic of histrionic personality disorder. Individuals diagnosed with this disorder tend to be self-dramatizing, attention seeking, over gregarious, and seductive.

Which reaction to a compliment from another client should a nurse identify as a typical response from a client diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder?
A. Interpreting the compliment as a secret code used to increase personal power
B. Feeling the compliment was well deserved
C. Being grateful for the compliment but fearing later rejection and humiliation
D. Wondering what deep meaning and purpose are attached to the compliment

ANS: C
The nurse should identify that a client diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder would be grateful for the comment but would fear later rejection and humiliation. Individuals with avoidant personality disorder are extremely sensitive to rejection and are often awkward and uncomfortable in social situations.

Which client symptoms should lead a nurse to suspect a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder?
A. The client experiences unwanted, intrusive, and persistent thoughts.
B. The client experiences unwanted, repetitive behavior patterns.
C. The client experiences inflexibility and lack of spontaneity when dealing with others.
D. The client experiences obsessive thoughts that are externally imposed.

ANS: C
The nurse should suspect a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder when a client experiences inflexibility and lack of spontaneity. Individuals diagnosed with this disorder are very serious, formal, and have difficulty expressing emotions. They are perfectionistic and preoccupied with rules.

Which client is a nurse most likely to admit to an inpatient facility for self-destructive behaviors?
A. A client diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder
B. A client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder
C. A client diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder
D. A client diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder

ANS: B
The nurse should expect that a client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder would be most likely to be admitted to an inpatient facility for self-destructive behaviors. Clients diagnosed with this disorder often exhibit repetitive, self-mutilative behaviors. Most gestures are designed to evoke a rescue response.

When planning care for clients diagnosed with personality disorders, what should be the anticipated treatment outcome?
A. To stabilize pathology with the correct combination of medications
B. To change the characteristics of the dysfunctional personality
C. To reduce inflexibility of personality traits that interfere with functioning and relationships
D. To decrease the prevalence of neurotransmitters at receptor sites

ANS: C
The outcome of treatment for clients diagnosed with personality disorders should be to reduce inflexibility of personality traits that interfere with functioning and relationships. Personality disorders are often difficult and, in some cases, seem impossible to treat.

The nurse plans to confront a client about secondary gains related to extreme dependency on spouse. Which nursing statement would be most appropriate?
A. "Do you believe dependency issues have been a lifelong concern for you?"
B. "Have you noticed any anxiety during times when your husband makes decisions."
C. "What do you know about individuals who depend on others for direction?"
D. "How have the specifics of your relationship with your spouse benefited you?"

ANS: D
When a client goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, the client is seeking secondary gains. Secondary gains provide clients the support and attention that the client might not otherwise receive.

The nurse should recognize which factors that distinguish personality disorders from psychosis?
A. Functioning is more limited in personality disorders than in psychosis.
B. Major disturbances of thought are absent in personality disorders.
C. Personality disordered clients require hospitalization more frequently.
D. Personality disorders do not affect family relationships as much as psychosis.

ANS: B
Major disturbances of thought are absent in personality disorders and are a classic symptom of psychosis.

Which client statement would demonstrate a common characteristic of Cluster "B" personality disorder?
A. "I wish someone would make that decision for me."
B. "I built this building by using materials from outer space."
C. "I'm afraid to go to group because it is crowded with people."
D. "I didn't have the money for the ring, so I just took it."

ANS: D
Antisocial personality disorder is included in the Cluster "B" personality disorders. In this disorder there is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others.

When a client on an acute care psychiatric unit demonstrates behaviors and verbalizations indicating a lack of guilt feelings, which nursing intervention would help the client to meet desired outcomes?
A. Provide external limits on client behavior.
B. Foster discussions of rationales for behavioral change.
C. Implement interventions consistently by only one staff member.
D. Encourage the client to involve self in care.

ANS: A
Because the client, due to a lack of guilt, cannot or will not impose personal limits on maladaptive behaviors, these limits must be delineated and enforced by staff.

Which characteristics should a nurse recognize as being exhibited by individuals diagnosed with any personality disorders?
A. These clients accept and are comfortable with their altered behaviors.
B. These clients understand that their altered behaviors result from anxiety.
C. These clients seek treatment to avoid interpersonal discomfort.
D. These clients avoid relationships due to past negative experiences.

ANS: A
Clients who are diagnosed with personality disorders accept and are comfortable with their altered behaviors. Personalities that develop in a disordered pattern remain somewhat unstable and unpredictable throughout the lifetime.

A nurse would expect a client diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder to exhibit which characteristic?
A. The client keeps to self and has few, if any relationships.
B. The client has many brief but intense relationships.
C. The client experiences incorrect interpretations of external events.
D. The client exhibits lack of tender feelings toward others.

ANS: C
Clients who are diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder experience odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with cultural norms. This results in incorrect interpretations of external events.

While improving, a client demands to have a phone installed in the intensive care unit (ICU) room. When a nurse states, "This is not allowed. It is a unit rule." The client angrily demands to see the doctor. Which approach should the nurse use in this situation?
A. Provide an explanation for the necessity of the unit rule.
B. Assist the client to discuss anger and frustrations.
C. Call the physician and relay the request.
D. Arrange for a phone to be installed in the client's unit room.

ANS: B
Clients who demand special privileges may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. The best approach in this situation is for the nurse to identify the function that anger, frustration, and rage serve for the client. The verbalization of feelings may help the client to gain insight into his or her behavior.

Which nursing statement reflects a common characteristic of a client diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder?
A. "This client consistently criticizes care and has difficulty getting along with others."
B. "This client is shy and fades into the background."
C. "This client expects special treatment and setting limits will be necessary."
D. "This client is expressive during group and is very pleased with self."

ANS: A
A client diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder has a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others. Anticipating humiliation and betrayal, the paranoid individual characteristically learns to attack first.

A client exhibits dependency on staff and peers and expresses fear of abandonment. Using Mahler's theory of object relations, which should the nurse expect to note in this client's childhood?
A. Lack of fulfillment of basic needs by parental figures
B. Absence of the client's maternal figure during symbiosis
C. Difficulty establishing trust with the maternal figure
D. Inconsistency by the maternal figure during individuation

ANS: D
During phase 3 (5 to 36 months) of Margaret Mahler's individuation theory, there should be a strengthening of the ego and an acceptance of "self" with independent ego boundaries. Inconsistency by the maternal figure during individuation may in later years result in feelings of helplessness when the client is alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for self.

A client diagnosed with cluster "C" traits sits alone and ignores other's attempts to converse. When ask to join a group the client states, "No thanks." In this situation, which should the nurse assign as an initial nursing diagnosis?
A. Fear R/T hospitalization
B. Social isolation R/T poor self-esteem
C. Risk for suicide R/T to hopelessness
D. Powerlessness R/T dependence issues

ANS: B
Clients diagnosed with cluster "C" traits are described as anxious and fearful. The DSM-IV-TR divides cluster "C" personality disorders into three categories: avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive. Anxiety and fear contribute to social isolation.

Which statements represent positive outcomes for clients diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder? (Select all that apply.)
A. The client will relate one empathetic statement toward another client in group by day 2.
B. The client will identify one personal limitation by day 1.
C. The client will acknowledge one strength that another client possesses by day 2.
D. The client will list four personal strengths by day 3.
E. The client will list two lifetime achievements by discharge.

ANS: A, B, C
The nurse should determine that appropriate outcomes for a client diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder include relating empathetic statements to other clients, identifying one personal limitation, and acknowledging one strength in another client. An exaggerated sense of self-worth, a lack of empathy, and exploitation of others are characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder.

A nurse is caring for a group of clients within the DSM-IV-TR cluster B category of personality disorders. Which factors should the nurse consider when planning client care? (Select all that apply.)
A. These clients have personality traits that are deeply ingrained and difficult to modify.
B. These clients need medications to treat the underlying physiological pathology.
C. These clients use manipulation, making the implementation of treatment problematic.
D. These clients have poor impulse control that hinders compliance with a plan of care.
E. These clients commonly have secondary diagnoses of substance abuse and depression.

ANS: A, C, D, E
The nurse should consider that individuals diagnosed with cluster B-type personality disorders have deeply ingrained personality traits, use manipulation, have poor impulse control, and often have secondary diagnoses of substance abuse and/or depression. This cluster includes antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders.

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