Borderline Personality Symptomatology and Employment Disability: A Survey Among Outpatients in an Internal Medicine Clinic



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Objective: The relationship between borderline personality symptomatology and employment disability has undergone limited study. Four previous studies indicate a possible relationship, but each has its own inherent limitations. In the present study, we examined this relationship among 94 internal medicine outpatients.

Method: Using a sample of convenience, we administered 2 self-report measures for borderline personality (the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4th Edition, which is based on DSM criteria, and the Self-Harm Inventory, which correlates with scores on the Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines) and inquired about the lifetime presence and length of either psychiatric or medical disability. The study was active from February 2003 through January 2005.

Results: There was a significant and positive correlation between scores on both borderline personality measures and the length of psychiatric disability for women (r=.33, r=.36, p=.05); however, no significant relationship was found between scores on either measure for borderline personality and the length of either psychiatric or medical disability for men.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that, in contrast to men, there may be a relationship between borderline personality symptomatology and psychiatric disability only among women (i.e., there may be a gender difference). We discuss the possible implications of these results.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2006;8(3):153-157