Effect of maternal autonomy and relatedness and borderline personality disorder on adolescent symptomatology.Personal Disord. 2015 Apr; 6(2):152-60.PD
Several theories propose a relationship between deficits in autonomy and relatedness and the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Empirical work supports relationships between maternal BPD and adolescent symptomatology, as well as between maternal autonomy and relatedness and adolescent symptomatology. However, no study has examined how individuals with BPD differ from normative comparisons on autonomy and relatedness, or whether mothers' BPD mediates the relationship between their autonomy and relatedness and their adolescents' symptomatology. We sampled 28 mothers with BPD and their adolescents aged 14-17 years, as well as 28 normative comparisons matched on demographic variables. We assessed BPD as a categorical diagnosis and along a continuum of self-reported borderline features. In a videotaped problem-solving interaction, controlling for current major depressive disorder, mothers with BPD were less likely to promote and more likely to inhibit relatedness, and they were marginally more likely to inhibit but equally likely to promote autonomy with their adolescents. Mothers' total borderline features mediated the relationship between mothers' promotion of autonomy plus relatedness and adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms (anxious depression, withdrawn depression, somatic problems, rule breaking, and aggression) and adolescent borderline features (affective instability and self-harm). Mothers' total borderline features also mediated the relationship between mothers' inhibition of autonomy plus relatedness and adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms (anxious depression, withdrawn depression, somatic problems, and aggression but not rule breaking) and adolescent borderline features (affective instability and self-harm). We discuss findings in terms of light shed on BPD and the effect of maternal BPD on adolescent development.