Borderline Personality Disorder: Effects on Children, Custody, & Protective Services Encounters

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Sandra SULZER, Utah State University, USA
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects approximately 2% of the population at any given time. While it is among the most-studied mental health conditions, research examining intergenerational impacts has been lacking. Due to difficulties in data collection, the complexities of studying parent-child relationships, and even disagreement about what Borderline Personality Disorder is, we lack information about the long-term impacts of BPD on children, or how they interface with the legal system. While we have some evidence that parents with BPD are disproportionately represented in interventions by Child Protective Services (CPS) and within in-patient psychiatric facilities, we know little about the first-hard experiences of children in these situations. This study examines 28 online message board threads, comprised of 312 posts, by adult children who identify as having a parent with BPD. Using content analysis to examine the discourse of their exchanges, they provide new information about their experiences being raised in a home with a parent with BPD. Threads are augmented by in-person interviews with clinicians (n=32) and related providers, though this presentation will focus on the Adult Child perspective. These first-hand accounts, while retrospective, may offer insights to researchers attempting to understand when CPS gets involved, how this particular subset of children may routinely fall through the cracks, and how to develop better psychiatric interventions for parental dyads when working to resolve these issues.