Modeling Multiple Risk Factors for Borderline Personality Disorder: A Comparison of Variable-Centered and Person-Centered Approaches

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Temes, Christina Maria
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 08, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Kenneth N. Levy, Dissertation Advisor
  • Kenneth N. Levy, Committee Chair
  • Michelle Newman , Committee Member
  • Koraly Perez-Edgar, Committee Member
  • Bethany Bray, Outside Member
  • borderline personality disorder
  • risk factors
  • latent class analysis
  • suicide
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic, severe, prevalent disorder that is associated with a host of negative outcomes, including suicidal behavior. Due in part to the severity of this disorder and features of it, a growing body of research has focused on identifying factors that confer risk for BPD symptomatology, including early presence of externalizing and internalizing pathology, maladaptive experiences with caregivers, early abusive experiences, and family history of certain kinds of psychopathology. The present study is an attempt to further elucidate the nature of risk for BPD by comparing variable-centered and person-centered approaches to examining the effects of 16 risk factors from multiple ecological levels. In variable-centered, logistic regression analyses, the vast majority of identified risk factors were associated with an increased likelihood of BPD symptoms. Person-centered latent class analyses yielded five latent classes, representing distinct profiles characterized by different levels of types of risk exposure that co-occurred within individuals. Prevalence of classes differed as a function of level of BPD symptomatology, with a class characterized by early internalizing and externalizing psychopathology the most prevalent among those with full-criteria BPD. Exposure to early risk (as represented by the latent risk exposure classes) and exposure to adult risk factors were independently associated with suicide attempt in adulthood. In members of the class characterized by early psychopathology, likelihood of suicide attempt was increased when individuals experienced depression in adulthood.