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Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;164(6):922-8.

Evaluating three treatments for borderline personality disorder: a multiwave study.

Author information

1
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, Westchester Division, 21 Bloomingdale Rd., White Plains, NY 10605, USA. jclarkin@med.cornell.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors examined three yearlong outpatient treatments for borderline personality disorder: dialectical behavior therapy, transference-focused psychotherapy, and a dynamic supportive treatment.

METHOD:

Ninety patients who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder were randomly assigned to transference-focused psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, or supportive treatment and received medication when indicated. Prior to treatment and at 4-month intervals during a 1-year period, blind raters assessed the domains of suicidal behavior, aggression, impulsivity, anxiety, depression, and social adjustment in a multiwave study design.

RESULTS:

Individual growth curve analysis revealed that patients in all three treatment groups showed significant positive change in depression, anxiety, global functioning, and social adjustment across 1 year of treatment. Both transference-focused psychotherapy and dialectical behavior therapy were significantly associated with improvement in suicidality. Only transference-focused psychotherapy and supportive treatment were associated with improvement in anger. Transference-focused psychotherapy and supportive treatment were each associated with improvement in facets of impulsivity. Only transference-focused psychotherapy was significantly predictive of change in irritability and verbal and direct assault.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with borderline personality disorder respond to structured treatments in an outpatient setting with change in multiple domains of outcome. A structured dynamic treatment, transference-focused psychotherapy was associated with change in multiple constructs across six domains; dialectical behavior therapy and supportive treatment were associated with fewer changes. Future research is needed to examine the specific mechanisms of change in these treatments beyond common structures.

PMID:
17541052
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.2007.164.6.922
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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