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How mothers with borderline personality disorder relate to their year-old infants

  • R. Peter Hobson (a1), Matthew P. H. Patrick (a1), Jessica A. Hobson (a1), Lisa Crandell (a2), Elisa Bronfman (a3) and Karlen Lyons-Ruth (a4)...

Abstract

Background

Women with borderline personality disorder have conflictual interpersonal relations that may extend to disrupted patterns of interaction with their infants.

Aims

To assess how women with borderline personality disorder engage with their 12 to 18-month-old infants in separation–reunion episodes.

Method

We videotaped mother–infant interactions in separation–reunion episodes of the Strange Situation test. The mothers were women with borderline personality disorder, with depression, or without psychopathological disorder. Masked ratings of maternal behaviour were made with the Atypical Maternal Behavior Instrument for Assessment and Classification.

Results

As predicted, a higher proportion (85%) of women with borderline personality disorder than women in the comparison groups showed disrupted affective communication with their infants. They were also distinguished by the prevalence of frightened/disoriented behaviour.

Conclusions

Maternal borderline personality disorder is associated with dysregulated mother–infant communication.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor R. Peter Hobson, Tavistock Clinic, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA, UK. Email: r.hobson@ucl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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How mothers with borderline personality disorder relate to their year-old infants

  • R. Peter Hobson (a1), Matthew P. H. Patrick (a1), Jessica A. Hobson (a1), Lisa Crandell (a2), Elisa Bronfman (a3) and Karlen Lyons-Ruth (a4)...
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eLetters

Re: Parenting by Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder

Michael Fitzgerald, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
29 January 2010

In their paper Hobson et al (1) the authors conclude that maternal Borderline Personality Disorder is associated with dysregulated mother-infant communication. I accept this but it would appear to me that many of the mothers they described had adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There is very considerable overlap between the two conditions.

(1) Hobson R. P., Patrick, M.P.H., Hobson J.A., Crandell L., BronfmanE., Lyons-Ruth K. How Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder Relate to Their Year-Old Infants. British Journal of Psychiatry, 2009, 195, 325-330. ... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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