Models of borderline personality disorder: recent advances and new perspectives

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this article is to review the most relevant conceptual models of borderline personality disorder (BPD), with a focus on recent developments in this area.

Recent findings

Several conceptual models have been proposed with the aim of better understanding BPD: the borderline personality organization, emotion dysregulation, reflective (mentalization) dysfunction, interpersonal hypersensitivity and hyperbolic temperament models. These models have all been supported to some extent and their common components include disorganized attachment and traumatic early experiences, emotion dysregulation, interpersonal sensitivity and difficulties with social cognition. An attempt to integrate some components of the conceptual models of BPD has resulted in an emerging new perspective, the interpersonal dysphoria model, which emphasizes dysphoria as an overarching phenomenon that connects the dispositional and situational aspects of BPD.


Various conceptual models have expanded our understanding of BPD, but it appears that further development entails theoretical integration. More research is needed to better understand interactions between various components of BPD, including the situational factors that activate symptoms of BPD. This will help develop therapeutic approaches that are more tailored to the heterogeneous psychopathology of BPD.

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