Parental burden associated with borderline personality disorder in female offspring

Marianne Goodman, Uday Patil, Joseph Triebwasser, Perry Hoffman, Zachary A. Weinstein, Antonia New

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


To identify aspects of parental burden associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD), an anonymous internet survey linked to BPD support websites was developed for parents to complete on their BPD offspring and unaffected siblings. The questions cover aspects of the child's life from pregnancy through young adulthood, and query about the impact of the child's BPD on six domains of the parent's life, including physical and emotional health, marriage, job, standard of living, social life, and career trajectory. Additionally, financial burden was assessed with questions pertaining to insurance and out-of pocket costs associated with the BPD disorder. BPD offspring were identified by meeting diagnostic criteria embedded within the survey and having been given a diagnosis of BPD by a professional at some point in their life. We report on 233 female offspring meeting strict criteria for BPD. Parents of daughters with BPD endorsed varying levels of impact on the six domains comprising burden with the largest impact on emotional health which was impacted in over 88% of the respondents. Over 50% of parents endorsed four or greater of the six burden items. Particular aspects of the offspring's BPD symptom profile correlated with intensity of parental burden included including problems in adolescence with acting out behavior (p <.000), property destruction (.003), delusional symptoms (.007), and hallucinatory symptoms (.008). A subgroup of respondents provided data on specific fnancial expenses. The average and median out-of-pocket expense was $60,087, and $10,000. Insurance costs totaled an average of $108,251 with a mean of $20,000. The average cost per year after diagnosis was $14,606 out-of-pocket and $45,573 billed to insurance. The median cost per year after diagnosis was $3,667 out-of-pocket, and $12,500 billed to insurance. After adjusting for household income, a female proband who had been raped incurred roughly $40,000 more in BPD-related costs, while a diagnosis of conduct disorder led to about $50,000 in additional costs. Parents of female offspring with BPD experience burden in multiple domains of their life and many have incurred substantial financial expense. Increasing awareness of co-morbid conditions in the BPD proband that significantly increase parental burden may be indicators for the provision of increased family support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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