Document Type

Article

Publication Date

August 2002

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

Volume

190

Issue

8

Abstract

The association between trauma and personality disorders (PDs), while receiving much attention and debate, has not been comprehensively examined for multiple types of trauma and PDs. The authors examined data from a multisite study of four PD groups: schizotypal, borderline (BPD), avoidant, and obsessive-compulsive, and a major depression comparison group. Rates of traumatic exposure to specific types of trauma, age of first trauma onset, and rates of posttraumatic stress disorder are compared. Results indicate that BPD participants reported the highest rate of traumatic exposure (particularly to sexual traumas, including childhood sexual abuse), the highest rate of posttraumatic stress disorder, and youngest age of first traumatic event. Those with the more severe PDs (schizotypal, BPD) reported more types of traumatic exposure and higher rates of being physically attacked (childhood and adult) when compared to other groups. These results suggest a specific relationship between BPD and sexual trauma (childhood and adult) that does not exist among other PDs. In addition, they support an association between severity of PD and severity of traumatic exposure, as indicated by earlier trauma onset, trauma of an assaultive and personal nature, and more types of traumatic events.