The relationship of borderline personality disorder, life events and functioning in an Australian psychiatric sample

J Pers Disord. 2006 Jun;20(3):205-17. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2006.20.3.205.


Studies have documented poor functioning and higher rates of negative life events in association with personality disorders (PDs), in particular with borderline personality disorder (BPD). The current study investigated the impact of recent life events, daily hassles and uplifts on psychosocial functioning in patients with PDs, while extending previous research by examining the role of perceived coping effectiveness and perceived stress of recent life events. Ninety-seven participants (Axis I group, N = 30; BPD group, N = 23; Other PD group, N = 44) completed measures of functioning, recent life events, daily hassles and uplifts. Results indicated that the BPD group reported the poorest levels of functioning, especially interpersonal functioning. The BPD group also reported more negative life events, particularly in the interpersonal relationships, personal health, crime, and financial domains. The BPD group experienced less uplifts, more hassles and found employment circumstances particularly stressful and difficult to cope with. Intensity of hassles was a predictor of functioning independent of a BPD diagnosis. A greater frequency of life events was closely associated with a non-BPD diagnosis in predicting a decrease in psychosocial functioning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / epidemiology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires