Does Dwight Schrute Have A Mental Disorder?

This blog contains information about the character Dwight Schrute from the show – ‘The Office’ which ran from 2005 to 2013, and we will also cover who is Dwight Schrute, the mental disorder Dwight might be suffering from, and we’ll also assess his mental health through various different techniques. 

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Does Dwight Schrute Have A Mental Disorder?

Yes, Dwight seems to be suffering from Aspergers Syndrome as he has problems in understanding emotions and also depicts other characteristics of the syndrome in his day-to-day life. 

Let us explore Dwight and his personality which will help us dive deep into his mental health and disorders he is suffering from. 

The Office

The Office’s plot is about the Scranton Branch (Pennsylvania) of the Dunder Mifflin paper company which is a paper distributor company. The show revolves around the workers as the characters who are at all times being filmed by a documentary crew while in office and also like those one-on-one interviews/talking heads.

Dwight Schrute

Those who know about Michael Scott (Branch Manager) would have surely heard about his wingman Dwight Schrute, who is his No.2 man.

Dwight has the aspirations of reaching high up in the company and outperforming his archrival salesperson James Halpert. Dwight has an odd relationship with everybody in the company.

Dwight works as an Assistant to the regional manager(which is Michael Scott). He is also a proprietor of a beet farm that he co-owns with his cousin Mose. 

Dwight undoubtedly is the most passionate employee of this branch and in fact in the entire paper industry. In the first few seasons of the shows, he also volunteers as a sheriff for Lackawanna county, because he believes he must employ his finger and superior survival/combat skills to better serve the community.

Dwight wants to gain power so he looks for any responsibility available on which he can put his hands that would make him look special among his peers. Through his interactions with the various characters and his other activities, we see that Dwight is socially awkward, intense, self-centered, gullible, at times resourceful, entrepreneurial, hyper-vigilant to potential threats, highly motivated and he has rigid thinking.

Dwight also acts as a safety officer soon after snatching the responsibility from his coworker, he has been learning karate for his entire adult life and possesses many kinds of weapons like swords, nunchucks, knives, blows darts, crossbows, smoke grenades, and daggers kept conspicuous in the office around various places. 

One day when Michael enters the office running and breathing heavily, Dwight asks, “Is there someone after you, Michael?! And he is aware of the statistics too that “seven out of eight attacks happen from behind”. 

One could note his feelings of superiority regarding himself and his responsibilities towards his delusion that he will be caught by someone if he does not stay alert for enough intensity and time. All of this points towards Dwight being a patient of paranoid personality disorder.

But hang on. The character is fictional and therefore there are not many attributes through which we can measure or deduce the mental disorder he goes through, so we’ll be working with whatever information we have about him. 

Dwight and his mental disorder

Let us look at our character Dwight Schrute from a different angle which puts his behaviors under the lens of a mental health-related disorder

Dwight Schrute might have Aspergers Syndrome. Dwight is really bad at conversing politely with people. His impaired social, as well as emotional interaction, is one of the main indicators of Asperger’s syndrome. 

Dwight shows very less empathy or sympathy for that matter to his colleagues. To compensate for the deficiency of empathy he memorizes social patterns, communicates in a pretty peculiar way, and has presumptions and preoccupations equally asocial to the degree of antisociality. 

Dwight Schrute is also very obsessed with details that carry zero social consequences. 

He over exaggerates about being prepared all the time (for example – the Fire and CPR episode) and also falls for the pranks by Jim. So these few reasons can contribute to the statement that Dwight Schrute’s character suffers from a mental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome.

Dwight makes several extraordinary claims throughout the series suggesting he also may be a pathological liar or may just not understand his own experiences. 

He has several interests outside his career at Dunder Mifflin. He owns the business park where that company is located and along with his cousin owns a beet plantation.

Dwight portrays extreme relationships with everyone in the office. He hates Jim Halpert and Andy, who share his romantic interest with Angela. 

Deeper Analysis of Dwight’s mental disorder

Let us examine Dwight’s character through the acronym OCEAN

OCEAN stands for

O – Openness to experience

C – Conscientiousness

E – Extraversion

A – Agreeableness

N – Neuroticism

Dwight wants everyone to believe that he is very superior intellectually but he is not. He is quite a rigid thinker and has a low grade of openness to experience. He doesn’t have time for any fancy theories. 

Dwight also tends to think of himself as a pragmatic being. He does not believe that feelings and emotions are very important and looks down on them and he too is not open to experiencing emotions. 

As far as conscientiousness goes, for most of which Dwight is high. He sticks to ethics and often the kind of ethics which he designed for himself. He is quite organized and he is competent and has a high degree of self-discipline. He is also very productive. 

Coming to extroversion, he lies very low on the extraversion trait. He is not particularly outgoing or friendly and is actively assertive.

He does not seem to possess many positive emotions. Talking of his level of agreeableness, it is quite low. He keeps suspecting other people’s intentions. He is very insensitive and is guarded regarding his feelings, he does not believe in expressing them. 

He is very arrogant and takes care of the competition rather than cooperation as a trait. 

Coming to the last trait which was neuroticism he is not depressed, anxious or vulnerable but he explains how he is not disturbed by awkward social situations many of which he makes.

Dwight under the DARK TETRAD lens

Let us look at if Dwight shows the set of four traits called Dark Tetrad which is namely;

  • Psychopathy
  • Narcissism
  • Machiavellism
  • Subclinical sadism

Psychopathy

He has a lack of empathy and he fails at taking responsibility for it.

Narcissism

He always shows a sense of entitlement and also a dash of grandiosity, he tends to be arrogant and he wants admiration from everyone around him,

Machiavellism

Dwight is cynical, strategic, calculating, and tries to take any opportunity to gain power.

Subclinical sadism

Dwight seems to enjoy it when other people are humiliated.

So analyzing these four traits, the best alignment goes with Machiavellism and then narcissism and psychopathology.

Dwight is socially awkward

Dwight can not engage in a normal social conversation. And reciprocity is not his forte. He fails at initiating a conversation and has a back and forth style of conversing which does not reveal much about his emotions. 

He shows abnormal eye contact body language and a lack of facial expressions. He has difficulty in making friends and has no interest in peers.

Dwight also shows traits of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in his behavior as he believes in the inflexibility of routine, adheres to his routine without any deviation, and his interests are highly fixated. 

Dwight believes in perfectionism; rigidity; negative affectivity; interpersonal aggression.

As well as a need to control people around him. He shows excessive devotion to work and productivity over conscientiousness and is reluctant to delegate tasks because he wants things to be done in a certain way. 

He is also very stubborn but now we are going to look at the ableism inside the Office, as a defense of Our character Dwight Schrute.

The laughter that comes from Dwight’s humiliation and Jim’s pranks on Dwight is the major source of humour in the show. If we believe that Dwight goes through autism spectrum disorder, as he is unable to understand his social world and can not understand social cues. 

He becomes the ‘other’ according to Edward Said’s terminology and we use Dwight as a lens to view the ‘other’, a ‘contrasting image’ that shapes our comprehension of other characters.

There are examples in the show where Michael shows himself as a superior person against Dwight’s inability to act like somebody who does not have autism. Also, the domination of Jim as a perfect and smart character over Dwight who is a contrasting image seems to provide Jim with superior quality and posing Dwight’s social stability as inferior. 

Although we can continue to analyze the show, the most respectful approach would be to talk more about autism spectrum disorder, taking a closer look at Dwight reveals the unseemly side effects of the show and a look at the presence of the social disability.

Frequently Asked Questions: Does Dwight Schrute Have A Mental Disorder?

What is Dwight Schrute’s personality?

Dwight is ambitious, cutthroat sometimes clueless, and quite geeky. He values the success of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company more than anything else.

Who is the most intelligent character in the office?

Creed Bratton, according to the popular vote is the most intelligent character because he can speak Chinese and outwitted the American Government 

Is Toby the Scranton strangler?

Paul Lieberstien who played the role of Toby in the show said in an interview that Toby was capable of being the guy but didn’t outrightly admit that Toby was the strangler.

What is Dwight’s disability?

Dwight seems to be struggling with social interactions and often misinterprets social situations. He might be having Autism spectrum disorder. 

Is Dwight from the Office a sociopath?

No, he is not a sociopath. Dwight often comes off a little too strong in certain situations, has paranoid thoughts, struggles with social cues, situations, people, and displays various mental health-related issues but he is not a sociopath. 

What is Dwight’s salary?

Dwight seems to make around 35000-50000 USD per annum as he once mentions to Jim that he dreamt of making 80000 USD which means that he is not near that figure.

References

https://www.reddit.com/r/FanTheories/

http://jaredreser.com/EssayTOC/theofficementaldisorders.html

https://thedailydosage20.wixsite.com/mysite/post/the-office-mental-illnesses-within-the-office-riya-patel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj2sxU
https://www.undercoverautie.com/blog/2017/12/13/dwight-schrute-the-office-and-autism
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