Borderline Personality Symptomatology and History of Domestic Violence Among Women in an Internal Medicine Setting

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In this study of primary care patients, we examined the relationship between a history of domestic violence (measured with the Severity of Violence Against Women Scale [SVAWS]) and borderline personality (measured with the Self-Harm Inventory [SHI] and the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 [PDQ-4]). We elected borderline personality for examination because several diagnostic criteria sets describe relationship features suggestive of partner abuse. In this study, both measures of borderline personality were highly related to each other (r = .73, p < .001) as well as to the SVAWS (r = .70, p < .001, for the SHI; r = .73, p < .001, for the PDQ-4). Using diagnostic cutoff scores on the measures for borderline personality, 64.0% of those with histories of domestic violence scored in the positive range on either or both measures, while only 11.1% of nonabused women did. We discuss the clinical implications of these findings.

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