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J Clin Psychol. 2007 Sep;63(9):805-16.

Structure of borderline personality disorder symptoms in a nonclinical sample.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1270, USA.


Relations among symptoms of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) borderline personality disorder (BPD) assessed using semistructured clinical interviews were examined using exploratory principal components analysis in a sample of 82 college men and women who were symptomatic for BPD (30.4% of whom met criteria for a BPD diagnosis at threshold or subthreshold certainty level). A three-component solution was found and, as expected, the first component was characterized by interpersonal instability and included unstable relationships, identity disturbance, and chronic emptiness. The second component reflected affective instability and low impulsivity. The third component reflected stress-related paranoia and low anger. Results highlight similarities in the structure of BPD criteria in clinical and nonclinical samples, and could inform future research on dimensional models of BPD.

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