Maternal borderline personality disorder symptoms and adolescent psychosocial functioning

J Pers Disord. 2008 Oct;22(5):451-65. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2008.22.5.451.


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by severe disruption of interpersonal relationships, yet very little research has examined the relationship between maternal BPD and offspring psychosocial functioning. The present study examined 815 mothers and their 15-year-old children from a community-based sample to determine (1) if there is an association between mothers' BPD symptoms and the interpersonal functioning, attachment cognitions, and depressive symptoms of their offspring, and (2) if the association of maternal BPD and youth outcomes is independent of maternal and youth depression. Measures of youth psychosocial functioning included self, mother, interviewer rated, and teacher reports. Results indicated that there was a significant association between maternal BPD symptoms and youth outcomes, and that this association remained even after controlling for maternal lifetime history of major depression, maternal history of dysthymic disorder, and youth depressive symptoms. This study provides some of the first empirical evidence for a link between mother's BPD symptoms and youth psychosocial outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / epidemiology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United States / epidemiology