I know someone who is very dramatic, sometimes I think they create dramas because they need it in their life, I’ve heard of other people describe the same thing, is there a name for this type of behaviour

  • $\begingroup$ This question does not include sufficient initial research which is expected on this site. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Apr 11 '18 at 9:07

According to a recent (2016) paper that proposed seemingly the first specialized scale for measuring this trait (which they call NFD = need for drama):

Clinicians have studied individuals who engage in clinically relevant dramatic behaviors and labeled them with borderline or histrionic personality disorders (BPD and HPD, respectively). Borderline personality disorder is defined by impulsivity, self-harming behaviors, chaos and instability in interpersonal relationships, and feelings of victimization; and HPD is defined by extreme sensitivity to criticism, excessive attention seeking, and need for approval from others.

Whereas BPD and HPD offer a framework for understanding dramatic personalities, they may not be the most effective for examining dramatic personalities in samples that are not clinically relevant; and may not be suitable as predictors of work-related performance and counterproductive work behaviors (Guenole, 2014). A compound personality trait, such as NFD, is more suitable to assess individuals within work environments. Furthermore, whereas BPD and HPD have a troubled history as sex-biased diagnoses that may be unsuitably applied to organizational and social research questions, we hypothesize that NFD is prevalent equally in men and women in the population and that our measure of NFD is suitable for non-clinical research

Note that both HPD and BPD belong to the so-called "dramatic" cluster (B) of persnoality disorders. Also, there has been criticism of the HPD construct, particularly in that it overlaps BPD too much, but HPD was nonetheless kept in DSM-5... and this basically a decision of the board of trustees, which overruled their own working group that had agreed to the deletion of HPD. Also interesting is that an independent survey of personality disorder experts had found HPD the lowest validity (if we go by the "very valid" ranking) of all DSM-IV personality diagnoses, but nonetheless they saw it as valid enough to be kept.

enter image description here enter image description here

Moving on to the new kid, NFD, its compound aspect refers to three subscales:

  • Interpersonal manipulation (IPM)
  • Impulsive outspokenness (IO)
  • Persistent perceived victimhood (PPV)

And they correlated their NFD measure with the big 5 personality factors

enter image description here

and with a host of other scales, in particular a measure of the dark triad

enter image description here

The also found that there was no bias for either sex in the samples they used to validate their NFD scale. But they did not correlate with clinical scales for either BPD or HPD, leaving that for future research.

Time will tell if this NFD scale will see adoption by other researchers. If you want to use their terminology "high NFD individual" would be the scientifically sounding term, or maybe just 'high drama' individuals. Given their finding that men and women are equally prone to this... the received term "drama queen" seems somewhat inappropriate (sexist).


Generally this would be a histrionic personality type. More information can be found here.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.