Behavior Genetic Approaches to BPD

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Book Chapter

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Borderline Personality Disorder, Personality Disorder, Heritability Estimate, Relational Aggression, Antisocial Personality Disorder

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



In line with current biologically-informed theories of borderline personality disorder (BPD), researchers have increasingly focused on the genetic and environmental processes underlying this form of pathology. Although the currently characterized by scarcity, the literature on BPD heritability is expanding and thus far has implicated the role of both genetic and environmental influences. However, results surrounding the disorder’s genetic transmission have not been consistent across studies. In the current chapter, we review the available evidence from family studies, supporting the familial transmission of BPD, evidence from classical twin studies for genetic and environmental effects on BPD across time. We will describe how the available evidence may inform the basic processes that underlie the etiology and trajectory of BPD. In particular, we argue that the inconsistencies of genetic and environmental estimates on BPD across development might begin to provide evidence for gene-environment interplay (including processes in which an individual creates or selects his or her own environment). A final purpose of the chapter will be to cover special issues related to BPD regarding the information that genetic approaches can yield when attempting to understand the disorder's etiology and overlap with comorbid pathology.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Behavior Genetic Approaches to BDP, in C. Sharp & J. L. Tackett, Handbook of Borderline Personality Disorder in Children and Adolescents, p. 129-142