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Relationship of Personality to Dissociation and Childhood Trauma in Borderline Personality Disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014



Dissociation is a prominent feature in some individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), yet our understanding of the meanings and implications of prominent dissociation in BPD remains limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between dissociation and childhood trauma in BPD and to explore the relationships of dissociation and trauma to various personality features of BPD.


Twenty BPD subjects and 24 healthy comparison subjects of similar age and gender were administered the Dissociative Experiences Scale, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire—short form, the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, the Defense Style Questionnaire, the Relationship Style Questionnaire, and the Schema Questionnaire.


The BPD group exhibited greater dissociation and childhood trauma, as well as greater pathology in most personality variables, compared with the healthy group. Dissociation in BPD was not significantly related to total childhood trauma, but only to emotional neglect, which accounted for 23% of the variance in dissociation scores.


Within the BPD group, dissociation was associated with fearful attachment and immature defenses, while total childhood trauma and emotional neglect were associated with overconnection and disconnection schemata. This is a preliminary study with a small sample size, yet the correlates of dissociation in BPD merit further investigation.

Original Research
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003

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