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The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency of DSM-III-R personality disorders in depressed patients treated in primary care, and to examine the effect of sertraline or citalopram on the diagnosis of personality disorders. A total of 308 patients with a major depressive disorder were assessed with the Swedish version of the Structured Clinical Interview for Personality Disorders (SCID) screen questionnaire, before and after 24 weeks double-blind treatment with sertraline (50–150 mg/day) or citalopram (20–60 mg/day). Following treatment, significant reductions in the frequency of paranoid, borderline, avoidant and dependent personality disorder diagnoses were seen in both treatment groups. When the personality disorders were analysed as continuous, dimensional personality traits significant reductions were seen for most personality categories. To elucidate if the observed reductions in personality disorder criteria could be explained by the improvement in depressive symptomatology, a series of multiple regressions were made. Reduction of depression scores was of some importance for the changes in most personality disorders. However, the multiple R never exceeded 0.24 (cluster C). Type of drug was of importance only as concerns obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Overall, the results suggest that sertraline and citalopram may be beneficial in the treatment of certain personality disorder traits in patients with major depressive disorders.