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Parent-Child Boundaries Link to BPD in Adolescence

Psychiatry Res; ePub 2017 Aug 12; Vanwoerden, et al

The relevance of inadequate parent-child boundaries to children's borderline personality disorder (BPD) have important implications for understanding the dynamics in families with adolescents with BPD, according to a recent study, the first one to actually measure such boundaries during adolescence. Using a multi-method approach, researchers recruited 301 adolescent inpatients (65.1% female; aged 12–17 years). Parents and adolescents completed questionnaire- and interview-based measures of BPD features in adolescent children and a questionnaire-based measure of parent-child boundaries. They found:

  • Relations were found between parental guilt induction and psychological control with children's BPD features above and beyond relations with psychiatric severity and gender.
  • Relations between parent reports of triangulation (when children are recruited to mediate parental marital conflict) and children's BPD were contingent on the level of children's perceptions of triangulation.


Vanwoerden S, Kalpakci A, Sharp C. The relations between inadequate parent-child boundaries and borderline personality disorder in adolescence. [Published online ahead of print August 12, 2017]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.08.015.

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