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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2003 Jan-Feb;11(1):8-19.

Family studies of borderline personality disorder: a review.

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  • 1McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass. 02478, USA.


This paper reviews the literature examining the psychopathology found in relatives of individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Reflecting changes in how BPD has been conceptualized, researchers have investigated the prevalence of schizophrenia, then mood disorders, and more recently, impulse spectrum disorders in these relatives. This literature does not support a link between BPD and schizophrenia, is ambiguous about a link between BPD and major depressive disorder, and suggests a familial aggregation of impulse spectrum disorders and BPD, as well as of BPD itself. Because of significant methodological problems, most notably indirect assessments and inadequate sample size, major questions persist about the familial aggregation of this disorder that require more definitive methods.

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