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The development of impulsivity and suicidality in borderline personality disorder


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by a broad pattern of impulsivity and suicidality. BPD usually begins in adolescence; the full clinical picture of the disorder is associated with developmental increases in impulsivity. However, BPD also has childhood precursors. The developmental pathways are similar to those found in other impulsive spectrum disorders, but children who later develop BPD probably have both externalizing and internalizing symptoms. Research in this area has made use of retrospective data from adults, prospective data from community studies, follow-up studies from children at risk, as well as research on “borderline pathology of childhood” (a condition with symptoms similar to adult BPD). Existing evidence suggests that both temperamental and environmental risk factors play a role in the development of the behavioral patterns associated with the disorder. These pathways also help account for the life course and outcome of BPD in adulthood.


Joel Paris

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