A Mother's Borderline Personality Disorder and Her Sensitivity, Autonomy Support, Hostility, Fearful/Disoriented Behavior, and Role Reversal With Her Young Child.J Pers Disord. 2017 12; 31(6):721-737.JP
There is some evidence that maternal borderline personality disorder (BPD) adversely affects parenting in infancy, resulting in disorganized attachment, which longitudinally predicts BPD symptoms in adulthood. We examined parenting related to disorganized attachment beyond infancy in offspring of mothers with BPD, when parenting becomes a goal-corrected partnership. We observed puzzle solving in a low socioeconomic status (SES) sample of mothers with BPD and their children ages 4-7, n = 36, and normative comparisons, n = 34. Compared with normative mothers and controlling for maternal mood disorders, mothers with BPD were less likely to be sensitive and provide autonomy support, and were more likely to be hostile and display fearful/disoriented behavior and higher levels of parent-child role reversal. We additionally found correlations between parenting and self-reported maternal borderline features. We discuss implications for child development, including possible transmission of BPD from mothers to children via representational models, and developmentally appropriate preventive interventions.