The Borderline Personality Disorder Issue

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Borderline personality disorder is characterized by emotional instability and irresponsible behavior. Psychologists can identify whether a person is suffering from BPD by assessing some of the symptoms. The purpose of this study is to investigate the association between gender and the severity of BPD condition. Nine participants completed the five-factor rating model, which revealed two key differences between men and women. Women were found to be more emotional, while men were shown to be more irresponsible. Other symptoms, such as substance misuse, were more severe. Although the results could not provide definite answers about the BPD condition, they did help to decide whether additional evaluation was required. Race and age did not show much variation and conclusions could not be made on the demographics. Using the Cloninger’s mental model in result analysis, we compared the group of participants in aspects of either being male or female. The representation of only nine participants could not draw conclusive results since it was only a small population that mainly consisted of women and participants mainly were Hispanic. Further research on extent of emotional distress and reckless behavior on both genders should be studied.

Keywords: Borderline Personality Disorder, reckless behavior, unstable mood

Borderline Personality Disorder


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental condition identified with instability in self-image, behavior and mood changes. Eating disorders and anxiety disorders are associated with BPD. Some people with the disease often experience suicidal thinking, mental disorders and drug and substance abuse. Recent studies show that borderline personality condition is equally prevalent in both males and females (De Panfilis, Meehan, Cain & Clarkin, 2016). Men with BPD condition reveal fiery temperaments and high level of novelty seeking. Self-harming behaviors like skin cutting are reported from both men and women. Research shows that some people also say stress-related paranoid thoughts and profound change in moods. Treatment of BPD involves psychologists and psychiatrists that study the mental history of the patient and diagnose appropriately.

BPD risk factors include genetics, environmental factors, social factors and brain factors. Ecological and social factors depend on life events. Studies show that persons exposed to traumatic life events such as hostile relationship and hostile conflicts are at very high risk of developing borderline personality disorder (Johnson, Ashe & Wilson, 2017). Brain factors include structural and functional changes in brain areas where emotions are regulated. Psychotherapy is the most recommended form of treatment for BPD patients. Group settings are recommended when conducting therapy.

Given the negative implications of BPD, a researcher has continued to research on etiology, cause, and treatment of the disorder. The studies cut across communities, gender, and race. Symptoms include unstable relationships, unstable self-image, reckless driving and participating in dangerous activities (Mena, Macfie & Strimpfel, 2017). Because of the high risk of suicide or other harmful events that can be prompted by the BPD condition, it is important that everyone with symptoms related to BPD condition seeks medical, psychological help. The purpose of this paper is to conduct an assessment that determines if one is displaying symptoms of borderline personality disorder.


Data collection

Nine participants were involved in the study. The participants comprised of three male participants and six female participants. All participants were above 18 years with the youngest at 21 years and eldest at 46 years. The questionnaire comprised of 26-question fixed response to determining if the participants showed symptoms of borderline personality disorder. The participants were required to fill demographic details such as date of birth, age, sex and their nationality. The participants were directed to indicate the level of agreement or disagreement based on the close-ended questions given. Measures used to scale level of understanding was divided into a scale of five. Strongly agree scored 5 points, agree scored 4, neutral scored 3, disagree scored 2 and finally strongly disagree which scored one. The scores would be then evaluated to determine if one has symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder.

Data analysis

The analysis of data from the study variables can be through both descriptive and use of inferential statistical methods or tests. The method of multiple regression and correlation would be more applicable. The correlation identifies the connection between different variables of age, nationality, and race. Multiple regression tests examine how the variable sets predict the outcome and how the variables are affected by each predictor. From the literature review, women are shown to be more affected with emotional problems compared to men who are characterized by a large temperant.


A total of 9 participants participated in the survey; all the participants completed the questionnaire each completing the 26-close ended questionnaire. Table 1 represents participant demographics and their symptoms characteristics. The 26 questions are classified as mood instability, self-image instability, reckless behavior, unstable relationships and drug and substance abuse.

44.4% of the participants were engaged in reckless behavior and substance abuse. Most females reported having experienced mood instability while most men reported having had reckless conduct. Examining the results of the study, the clinician characteristics was dependent on gender. Race and age did not show much variation and conclusions could not be made on the demographics. Using the Cloninger’s mental model in result analysis, we compare the group of participants in aspects of either being male or female. The model shows that men have fiery temperaments characteristics and novelty seeking while women have great characteristics of harm avoidance hence their moody nature.

Table 1

Participants characteristics




Mood instability

Self-image instability

Reckless behavior

Unstable relationships

Drug and substance abuse


















The present study shows that men are more likely to engage in reckless behavior while women report high chances of unstable mood. The Gender differences in borderline personality disorder guides through assessment of symptoms that are BPD related. Gender-based differences in BPD are shown to be derived from personality traits. With response to personality traits, males are prone to explosive tempers that lead to reckless behavior like drug abuse and suicidal thinking (Reuter, Sharp, Kalpakci, Choi & Temple, 2016). Men are also associated with reckless driving especially under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Women with borderline personality disorder reveal an antisocial personality accompanied by mood instability. Although women also engage in reckless behavior, there are fewer cases as compared to men.

The way BPD expresses itself is different due to influences of culture and natural gender differences. Drug and substance abuse is more consistency with BPD disorder in men. Related studies show the consistency of the characteristics of reckless behavior (Thomsen, Ruocco, Uliaszek, Mathiesen & Simonsen, 2017). From our results, anxiety and mood instability characterize women. It is more likely that women with BPD experience disorders and this shows why obesity affects women more than men. People are liable to have antisocial disorders and experience passive aggression. Data obtained from the survey noted that men reported antisocial personality compared to women.


Borderline personality disorder can be determined by assessing symptoms and signs associated with the disease. The present study shows that women show emotional symptoms while men are aggressive and reveal reckless behavior as symptoms related to BPD. Reckless behavior and drug abuse were reported as the highest symptoms experienced by the participants. The findings are in agreement with previous findings which showed that men are prone to explosive temperant compared to women. Further research on treatment through pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy is expected to reveal better results so that conclusive remarks can be made. The present study cannot therefore be used to determine who has the disorder, however, the researcher can determine who is at a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disorder. Future work should also include but not limited to evaluating social and environmental factors that influence borderline personality disorder.


De Panfilis, C., Meehan, K., Cain, N., & Clarkin, J. (2016). Effortful Control, Rejection Sensitivity, and Borderline Personality Disorder Features in Adulthood. Journal of Personality Disorders, 30(5), 595-612.

Johnson, B., Ashe, M., & Wilson, S. (2017). Self-Control Capacity as a Predictor of Borderline Personality Disorder Features, Problematic Drinking, and Their Co-occurrence. Journal of Personality Disorders, 31(3), 289-305.

Mena, C., Macfie, J., & Strimpfel, J. (2017). Negative Affectivity and Effortful Control in Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder and in Their Young Children. Journal of Personality Disorders, 31(3), 417-432.

Reuter, T., Sharp, C., Kalpakci, A., Choi, H., & Temple, J. (2016). Sexual Orientation and Borderline Personality Disorder Features in a Community Sample of Adolescents. Journal of Personality Disorders, 30(5), 694-707.

Sisti, D., Segal, A., Siegel, A., Johnson, R., & Gunderson, J. (2016). Diagnosing, Disclosing, and Documenting Borderline Personality Disorder: A Survey of Psychiatrists' Practices. Journal of Personality Disorders, 30(6), 848-856.

Thomsen, M., Ruocco, A., Uliaszek, A., Mathiesen, B., & Simonsen, E. (2017). Changes in Neurocognitive Functioning After 6 Months of Mentalization-Based Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders, 31(3), 306-324.

April 26, 2023

Health Education

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