The aetiology of borderline personality disorder (BPD): contemporary theories and putative mechanisms
This article presents an overview of current knowledge regarding the aetiology of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It begins with a brief synopsis of early research and theory, and discusses how changing conceptualisations of BPD have impacted on our aetiological knowledge. Contemporary theories are described and presented within a developmental psychopathology framework. Deficient co-regulation and social communication in infancy are purported to underpin emotional dysregulation and social cognition deficits across development.
These mechanisms are further potentiated by maladaptive social experiences in a series of positive feedback loops. Prospective research provides preliminary evidence for the reciprocal (or mediating) effects of maladaptive experiences and childhood dysregulation. Moving forward, cohort studies may incorporate neurobiological assessments to examine the biological systems underpinning phenotypic (e.g., impulsivity, disturbed relatedness) covariation.
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