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Adaptive Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms in Adolescents With Borderline Personality Disorder

Andrew M. Chanen, MBBS, MPM, FRANZCP; Martina Jovev, PhD; and Henry J. Jackson, PhD, FAPS

Published: February 15, 2007

Article Abstract

Objective: To examine adaptive functioning and psychopathology in adolescents with DSM-IV borderline personality disorder.

Method: 177 psychiatric outpatients (derived from 2 samples collected between March 1998 and July 1999 and between November 2000 and September 2002) aged 15 to 18 years were assessed using a structured interview for personality disorder diagnoses. Three groups, namely (1) those with a borderline personality disorder, (2) those with a personality disorder other than borderline personality disorder (“other personality disorder”), and (3) those without any personality disorder (“no personality disorder”), were compared on measures of psychiatric symptoms and psychosocial functioning. Primary outcome measures were Axis I diagnoses, Youth Self-Report, Young Adult Self-Report, Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents, Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale, and sociodemographic variables.

Results: The borderline personality disorder group (N = 46) had the most severe psychiatric symptoms and functional impairment across a broad range of domains, followed by the other personality disorder (N = 88) and no personality disorder (N = 43) groups, respectively. Borderline personality disorder was a significant predictor over and above Axis I disorders and other personality disorder diagnoses for psychopathology, general functioning, peer relationships, self-care, and family and relationship functioning.

Conclusions: The borderline personality disorder diagnosis should not be ignored or substituted by Axis I diagnoses in adolescent clinical practice, and early intervention strategies need to be developed for this disorder.

Volume: 68

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