Monday, January 21, 2008

Attachment, aggression and borderline personality disorder

There has been a lot of research recently into the causes, course and treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) which is typically, but not always, characterized by impulsive aggression, sucidality and self-harm, extreme dysphoria, abandonment sensitivity, identity disturbance and unstable, angry affect. People with BPD have a high risk of suicide and self-harm. Attachment theory (and you can find out more about this by clicking on the link below) provides a useful framework for understanding and predicting critical aspects of personality disorder and anxious and avoidant attachment styles have been linked with both aggression and BPD. A study of 92 people diagnosed with BPD looked into the links between the disorder, attachment styles and aggression. There was a significant association between the more fearful forms of attachment and the more reactive form of aggression involving expectation of hostility from others. Self-harm was significantly associated with relational avoidance while anger and irritability were associated with relational anxiety.

Critchfield, Kenneth L. ... [et al] - The relational context of aggression in borderline personality disorder: using adult attachment style to predict forms of hostility Journal of Clinical Psychology January 2008, 64(1), 67-82

More information about attachment style can be found at

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