Does a history of childhood abuse moderate the association between symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder in survivors of intimate partner violence?


Objective: This study examined whether a history of childhood abuse (CA) strengthened the association between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the aftermath of intimate partner violence (IPV). This hypothesis arises from clinical literature but has not been examined empirically. We predicted that a history of CA would enhance associations between BPD features and PTSD symptoms. Method: Dimensional assessment of both PTSD and BPD was made in a sample of 211 women who sought mental health services following IPV. Two analyses were conducted using clinician-assessed DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed.) PTSD symptoms: (a) total score and (b) symptom clusters. Results: Using path analysis, results indicated significant associations between BPD features and PTSD symptoms, but no significant interaction between BPD and CA in either analysis. Conclusions: Results are discussed given current understanding of comorbidities involving PTSD, with particular attention to potential implications for clinical practice. Areas for future research are proposed.

Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Psychology