What's in a Name: Can a Dimensional Trait Model Reduce Bias against Borderline Personality Disorder?



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For decades, there has historically been a lack of agreement on the definition, presentation, development, best treatment practices, and even existence of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over time, a complex set of beliefs has arisen surrounding the BPD diagnosis, leading many mental health professionals to hold a bias against these clients. The current study investigated a way to potentially reduce this bias, by asking mental health professional and laypersons to respond to clinical vignettes assessing clients through the traditional, categorical model of diagnosis and through the DSM-5’s Alternative Model for Personality Disorders (AMPD). Attitudes were further assessed through the use of the Revised Causal Dimension Scale (CDSII), Emotional Responses, and a modified version of the Attitude to Personality Disorder Questionnaire (APDQ).Professionals were also asked to report their familiarity with the AMPD. Results showed current-day bias may look differently than it has in the past and that general professional opinions of individuals with BPD may be improving. Additionally, professionals in this sample were largely unfamiliar with the AMPD. Clinical relationships between individuals with BPD and their treatment providers can still be improved through the collaborative efforts of future research in the areas of personality assessment and personality disorders.



Borderline personality disorder, DSM-5 Alternative model of personality disorders, AMPD, Stigma, Professional bias