This article explores recent research in the field of childhood exposure to trauma and the development of borderline personality disorder in adolescence.
Adolescence is a critical period of development. Exposure to trauma, specifically sexual abuse, prior to and during puberty has specific implications for personality development and heightens risk for borderline personality disorder. Elevated symptom levels in adolescence are likely to decline across adulthood, but social and vocational impairments remain. Impulsivity, difficulties in emotion regulation, and suicidality may characterize adolescent expression of borderline personality disorder, whereas negative affect and functional impairment are more stable features of the disorder.
Preliminary findings in treatment models for adults have potential for benefit among adolescence. Further research is required to examine treatment effectiveness and efficiency. Greater attention to low-income and middle-income nations, which are disproportionately affected by adversity, is needed to determine cross-cultural validity and the impact of trauma in adolescent populations.
aFrancois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
bDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
cSchool of Psychology
dSchool of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Correspondence to Aleksandar Janca, MD, MSc, FRCPsych, FRANZCP, Winthrop Professor and Head, School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, The University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, 50 Murray Street, Perth, WA 6000, Australia. Tel: +61 8 9224 0293; fax: +61 8 9224 0285; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org