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Temperamental Patterns in Female Adolescents With Borderline Personality Disorder

Kaess, Michael MD*†; Resch, Franz MD*; Parzer, Peter MA*; von Ceumern-Lindenstjerna, Ina-Alexandra PhD*‡; Henze, Romy PhD*; Brunner, Romuald MD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2013 - Volume 201 - Issue 2 - p 109–115
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827f6480
Original Articles

A specific composition of temperament traits with high novelty seeking (NS), high harm avoidance (HA), and low reward dependence (RD) has been attributed to adult patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This study examined whether an analogue personality profile is specifically associated with adolescent BPD. The female study sample comprised 33 adolescents with BPD, 35 clinical controls (CCs), and 31 healthy controls (HCs). Dimensions of temperament and character were measured according to Cloninger’s biopsychosocial model of personality. Significantly higher means of NS and HA but lower means of RD could be determined in the adolescents with BPD compared with the CCs and the HCs. The comparable findings of this specific temperament constellation in adolescents and adult patients with BPD suggest that heritable factors such as temperamental traits may contribute to the vulnerability for developing BPD. Early identification of a “borderline temperament” may facilitate early intervention and lower the risk for developing BPD.

*Section for Disorders of Personality Development, Department of Child and AdolescentPsychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; †Orygen Youth Health, Melbourne, Australia; and ‡Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Michael Kaess, MD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, 69115 Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, Germany. E-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.