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Seven-Year Course of Borderline Personality Disorder Features: Borderline Pathology Is as Unstable as Depression During Adolescence

NCJ Number
Clinical Psychological Science Volume: 5 Issue: 6 Dated: 2017 Pages: 742-749
Christopher. C. Conway; Alison E. Hipwell; Stephanie D. Stepp
Date Published
May 2017
6 pages
Since borderline personality disorder (PD) historically is construed as an unremitting condition with poor prognosis, this study took a new approach to examining stability and change in borderline PD by explaining symptom expression in terms of an unchanging foundationtermed borderline pronenesson one hand, and transitory influences on the other.
The study monitored borderline PD symptoms annually in a large sample of high-risk adolescent girls (N = 2,450) from ages 14 to 20. Trait-state-occasion modeling revealed that just more than half (52-57 percent) of borderline PD symptom variation was attributable to fixed borderline proneness; whereas, the remainder was subject to change across yearly measurement occasions. This degree of stability was no larger than the corresponding estimate for depression, a condition known for its variable course. The results indicate that, contrary to its reputation, borderline pathology is not set in stone, and it fluctuates in response to situational influences. (Publisher abstract modified)