Sizeable numbers of youth in community and clinical settings meet
diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Early
assessment and treatment may positively alter the life-course trajectory
of young people with BPD and reduce future suffering and impairment.
This article reviews the potential etiological bases of BPD, including
genetic, neurobiological, social-cognitive, and the biosocial theory.
Prospective, retrospective, and correlational research including infant
and child temperament, internalizing and externalizing psychopathology,
as well as suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injurious behaviors provide
additional information to better understand potential risk factors for
the development of BPD as well as points for intervention (e.g., emotion
regulation). To date, dialectical behavior therapy and
mentalization-based treatment appear promising as effective treatments
for adolescents who carry at least three borderline personality features
in addition to self-harm. Directions for future research are discussed.
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