The phenomenological and conceptual interface between borderline personality disorder and PTSD

Am J Psychiatry. 1993 Jan;150(1):19-27. doi: 10.1176/ajp.150.1.19.


Objective: The authors explore the conceptual and phenomenological interface between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder as well as the therapeutic and research implications of this interface.

Method: They systematically review the relevant empirical, conceptual, and clinical literature.

Results: These seemingly separate disorders are related. Borderline personality disorder is often shaped in part by trauma, and individuals with borderline disorder are therefore vulnerable to developing PTSD.

Conclusions: The authors draw a distinction between the enduring effects that traumas can have on formation (or change) of axis II personality traits (including those found in borderline personality disorder) and acute symptomatic reactions to trauma, called PTSD, that are accompanied by specific psychophysiological correlates. They describe the implications of these conclusions for DSM-IV, therapy, and future research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / etiology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Personality
  • Psychotherapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Terminology as Topic