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Behav Ther. 2011 Sep;42(3):493-508. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2010.11.003. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Exploring the association between emotional abuse and childhood borderline personality features: the moderating role of personality traits.

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Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA.


Most of the extant literature on borderline personality disorder has focused on the course, consequences, and correlates of this disorder among adults. However, little is known about childhood borderline personality (BP) features, or the factors associated with the emergence of BP pathology in childhood. A greater understanding of childhood BP features and associated risk factors has important implications for the development of primary and secondary prevention programs. The goal of the present study was to examine the interrelationships among two BP-relevant traits (affective dysfunction and impulsivity), a BP-relevant environmental stressor (emotional abuse), and BP features in a sample of 225 children aged 11 to 14 years. Results provide support for the role of both trait vulnerabilities and environmental stressors in childhood BP features. Further, findings highlight the moderating role of affective dysfunction in the relationship between emotional abuse and childhood BP features.

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