Skip to main content
Article
Failure to Detect a Causal Effect of Childhood Abuse or Diathesis-Stress Interactions on Adult Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms: A Longitudinal Discordant Twin Design
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
  • Marina Bornovalova, University of South Florida
  • Brooke M. Huibregste
  • Brian M. Hicks
  • Margaret Keyes
  • Matt McGue
  • William Iacono
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2013
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
http://doi.org/10.1037/a0028328
Abstract
We used a longitudinal twin design to examine the causal association between sexual, emotional, and physical abuse in childhood (before age 18) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits at age 24 using a discordant twin design and biometric modeling. Additionally, we examined the mediating and moderating effects of symptoms of childhood externalizing and internalizing disorders on the link between childhood abuse and BPD traits. Although childhood abuse, BPD traits, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms were all correlated, the discordant twin analyses and biometric modeling showed little to no evidence that was consistent with a causal effect of childhood abuse on BPD traits. Instead, our results indicate that the association between childhood abuse and BPD traits stems from common genetic influences that, in some cases, also overlap with internalizing and externalizing disorders. These findings are inconsistent with the widely held assumption that childhood abuse causes BPD, and they suggest that BPD traits in adulthood are better accounted for by heritable vulnerabilities to internalizing and externalizing disorders.
Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Abnormal Psychology, v. 122, issue 1, p. 180-194

Citation Information
Marina Bornovalova, Brooke M. Huibregste, Brian M. Hicks, Margaret Keyes, et al.. "Failure to Detect a Causal Effect of Childhood Abuse or Diathesis-Stress Interactions on Adult Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms: A Longitudinal Discordant Twin Design" Journal of Abnormal Psychology Vol. 122 (2013) p. 180 - 194
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marina_bornovalova/5/