A history of prolonged childhood sexual abuse is associated with more severe clinical presentation of borderline personality disorder in adolescent female inpatients – A naturalistic study

Hila Turniansky*, David Ben-Dor, Amir Krivoy, Abraham Weizman, Gal Shoval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with high rates of suicidal and self-injurious behaviors and a substantial proportion of BPD patients have a history of trauma, particularly childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Objective: To compare the clinical presentation severity in female adolescent inpatients with BPD with and without history of prolonged CSA. Participants and setting: Female adolescent BPD patients admitted to a psychiatric inpatient unit. Methods: A retrospective analysis of records of the inpatients, divided into two groups: with (n = 38) and without (n = 40) a history of prolonged CSA. Prolonged CSA was defined as sexual abuse continuing for at least 3 months. Demographic and clinical data, including number and duration of psychiatric hospitalizations until the age 19, non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), suicide attempts, cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug use, and sexual impulsivity were compared between the two groups. Results: The BPD + prolonged CSA group had a larger duration of the first psychiatric hospitalization, number of hospitalizations and cumulative length of hospitalizations compared with the control group. Furthermore, the BPD + prolonged CSA group had a higher number of suicidal attempts, and higher rates of severe NSSI events, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and sexual impulsivity. Conclusions: This study demonstrated for the first time that adolescent female BPD inpatients with a history of prolonged CSA, manifest more severe clinical presentation compared to those without prolonged CSA. Hence, it appears essential to encourage therapists to inquire about history of CSA and refer adolescent female BPD inpatients with prolonged CSA to appropriate intensive therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104222
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Childhood sexual abuse (CSA)
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI)
  • Suicidal attempt

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