Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a relatively new and controversial clinical diagnosis. It is estimated that nearly 6 million people suffer from the disorder, and yet it is not widely discussed within the psychological community (Roth and Freidman 2003). Why the silence surrounding BPD? Perhaps it is because there is no easy treatment. As Roth and Friedman so colorfully put it, “it’s difficult to explain BPD in snappy headlines and sound bites to a restless audience wont to channel surf” (2003). So then, why even study BPD? Surely, it is just some imaginary psychological problem created to make a certain group of people feel better about themselves. It is just an opportunity for weak-minded individuals to throw the blame for their own interpersonal problems onto someone else. Or is it? Mason and Kreger, in their ground-breaking 1998 book, explain borderline personality disorder in great detail. They list the DSM-IV criteria for classifying BPD, which include: “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment … a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships … impulsivity … self-damaging behavior … suicidal thoughts … affective instability … [and] chronic feelings of emptiness” (Mason and Kreger 1998). On her website, Deb Martinson (2002) lists some of these constructs, and it is her list that forms the basis of the present questionnaire. Specifically, the constructs I seek to analyze in this study are: impulsive, and sometimes self-destructive, behavior; intense, unstable personal relationships; chronic fear of abandonment; distorted thoughts; difficulty controlling emotions. Method A 10-question survey was given to each of five participants. The questionnaires were administered individually by email. The exact text of the survey can be found in the appendix. The participants were three females and two males, ages 18-38. All were white, college-educated individuals living in a suburban area.Since I was studying the same constructs that were mentioned in the DSM-IV, I chose to use the theoretical strategy approach to test construction (Belchier 2005). All questions were formulated so that each one would address an important construct used to diagnose BPD.
Belchier, M. (2005). Objective personality tests.
Johnston, J. M., & Pennypacker, H. S. (1993). Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Martinson, D. (2002). Borderline personality disorder
Mason, P.T. & Kreger, R. (1998). Stop walking on eggshells: Taking your life back
when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Roth, K. & Freidman, F.B. (2003). Surviving a borderline parent: How to heal your
childhood wounds & build trust, boundaries, and self-esteem. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Appendix: Borderline Personality Disorder Assessment
Please read each statement very carefully, and put an X in front of the number that best fits your agreement with each, where a score of 1 = strongly disagree, and a score of 5 = strongly agree.
11) I hate being by myself. 1 2 3 4 5
12) I find it hard to trust people. 1 2 3 4 5
13) I frequently exhibit self-destructive behaviors (excessive smoking or drinking; drug abuse; unprotected sex, etc.). 1 2 3 4 5
14) When a relationship ends, I am usually the one who gets hurt the most.
1 2 3 4 5
15) I often have suicidal thoughts. 1 2 3 4 5
16) I find it difficult to try to control my emotions.
1 2 3 4 5
17) I find it easy to lie. 1 2 3 4 5
18) When something upsets me, someone else is usually to blame.
1 2 3 4 5
19) I tend to do things on impulse. 1 2 3 4 5
20) I often have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
1 2 3 4 5
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