Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jenny Macfie

Committee Members

Paula J. Fite, Derek R. Hopko

Abstract

The current study examined attachment and borderline features in a sample of adolescents whose mothers have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (n=28) and normative comparison adolescents (n=29) using self-reports of parental attachment and borderline features. Statistical analyses revealed, with marginal significance, that adolescents of mothers with BPD provided lower ratings of parents as sources of support than comparison adolescents, but no difference for parents as facilitators of independence. However, adolescents of mothers with BPD did provide lower ratings of affective quality of parental attachment relationships. Dichotomous group differences were not found in adolescent borderline features. However, every subscale of maternal borderline features was positively correlated with adolescent affective instability. Additionally, maternal affect instability was related to adolescent negative relationships. Adolescent negative relationships were inversely related to ratings of affective quality of attachment relationships. Adolescent identity problems were negatively related to parents as facilitators of independence. Study findings aid in filling the gap in the minimal existing literature on adolescent offspring of women with BPD and yield clinical relevance in targeting prevention and intervention strategies for this group at risk for borderline features.

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