Borderline personality disorder: Health service use and social functioning among a national household population

J. Coid*, M. Yang, P. Bebbington, P. Moran, T. Brugha, R. Jenkins, M. Farrell, N. Singleton, S. Ullrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Background It is unclear whether Axis II psychopathology or co-morbid clinical syndromes result in the treatment-seeking behaviour and social impairment of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This study examined the independent associations between social functioning and service use and Axis I and Axis II disorders in persons with BPD in the national household population of Britain.Method The study was a cross-sectional survey of adults aged 1674 years in households (n=8397). Data included self-reported consultations with health-care professionals and behavioural problems. Diagnosis was determined by computer-assisted interviews. Analyses included logistic regression adjusting for demography, co-morbid Axis I clinical syndromes and other Axis II disorders.Results Consultation in the past year was reported by 57.5% of persons with BPD but only 13.4% reported lifetime psychiatric admission. BPD was not independently associated with impaired functioning but was associated with co-morbid psychotic, depressive and anxiety disorders. Only general practitioners (GPs) were consulted for problems independently due to BPD.Conclusions Functional effects of BPD are mediated through co-morbid clinical syndromes, not Axis II psychopathology. A subgroup do not have co-morbid disorders or seek treatment, and are high functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1731
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Co-morbidity
  • Demography
  • Epidemiology
  • Personality disorder (Axis I)
  • Service use
  • Social functioning


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