Background: Personality disorder (PD) is associated with important health outcomes in the general population. However, the length of diagnostic interviews poses a significant barrier to obtaining large scale, population-based data on PD. A brief screen for the identification of people at high risk of PD in the general population could be extremely valuable for both clinicians and researchers. Aim: We set out to validate the Standardised Assessment of Personality - Abbreviated Scale (SAPAS), in a general population sample, using the Structured Clinical Interviews for DSM-IV Personality Disorders (SCID-II) as a gold standard. Method: One hundred and ten randomly selected, community-dwelling adults were administered the SAPAS screening interview. The SCID-II was subsequently administered by a clinical interviewer blind to the initial SAPAS score. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to assess the discriminatory performance of the SAPAS, relative to the SCID-II. Results: Area under the curve for the SAPAS was 0.70 (95% CI=0.60 to 0.80; p<0.001), indicating moderate overall discriminatory accuracy. A cut point score of 4 on the SAPAS correctly classified 58% of participants. At this cut point, the sensitivity and specificity were 0.69 and 0.53 respectively. Conclusion: The SAPAS operates less efficiently as a screen in general population samples and is probably most usefully applied in clinical populations.