Borderline Personality Disorder and Mental Health Care Utilization: The Role of Self-Harm

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The current study examined the associations for borderline personality disorder (BPD) and a specific trait of the disorder, self-harm, with mental health care utilization. Our sample consisted of 145 psychiatric inpatients who completed 3 measures of BPD (Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 [PDQ-4], McLean Screening Inventory for borderline personality disorder [MSI-BPD], Structured Clinical Interview for DSM–IV Axis II Disorders–Personality Questionnaire [SCID-II-PQ]) and the Self-Harm Inventory (SHI). In relationship to mental health care utilization, the correlation for the SHI was significantly larger than those for the PDQ-4, MSI-BPD, or SCID-II-PQ. Thus, self-harm was significantly better at detecting mental health care utilization than was the overall BPD construct, which indicates that some of the more severe manifestations of the disorder are the most predictive of impairment in functioning. These findings also call into question whether BPD (and by extension, personality pathology in general) is most useful in these symptom constellations as opposed to focusing on specific maladaptive traits.

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