Joint crisis plans for people with borderline personality disorder: Feasibility and outcomes in a randomised controlled trial

Rohan Borschmann, Barbara Barrett, Jennifer M. Hellier, Sarah Byford, Claire Henderson, Diana Rose, Mike Slade, Kim Sutherby, George Szmukler, Graham Thornicroft, Joanna Hogg, Paul Moran*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: People with borderline personality disorder frequently experience crises. To date, no randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of crisis interventions for this population have been published. Aims: To examine the feasibility of recruiting and retaining adults with borderline personality disorder to a pilot RCT investigating the potential efficacy and cost-effectiveness of using a joint crisis plan. Method: An RCT of joint crisis plans for community-dwelling adults with borderline personality disorder (trial registration: ISRCTN12440268). The primary outcome measure was the occurrence of self-harming behaviour over the 6-month period following randomisation. Secondary outcomes included depression, anxiety, engagement and satisfaction with services, quality of life, well-being and cost-effectiveness. Results: In total, 88 adults out of the 133 referred were eligible and were randomised to receive a joint crisis plan in addition to treatment as usual (TAU; n = 46) or TAU alone (n = 42). This represented approximately 75% of our target sample size and follow-up data were collected on 73 (83.0%) participants. Intention-to-treat analysis revealed no significant differences in the proportion of participants who reported self-harming (odds ratio (OR) = 1.9, 95% CI 0.53-6.5, P = 0.33) or the frequency of self-harming behaviour (rate ratio (RR) = 0.74, 95% CI 0.34-1.63, P = 0.46) between the two groups at follow-up. No significant differences were observed between the two groups on any of the secondary outcome measures or costs. Conclusions: It is feasible to recruit and retain people with borderline personality disorder to a trial of joint crisis plans and the intervention appears to have high face validity with this population. However, we found no evidence of clinical efficacy in this feasibility study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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