Borderline personality disorder and bipolar spectrum: preliminary data on temperament and core psychopathological features in a sample of borderline patients

Disturbo borderline di personalità e spettro bipolare: dati preliminari sull'assetto temperamentale e sugli aspetti psicopatologici nucleari in un campione di pazienti borderline

M. Martinucci1, M. Chiesa2, C. Taponecco3, A. Biagi1, M. Di Fiorino1

1 Reparto di Psichiatria, Ospedale Versilia, Azienda USL 12, Lido di Camaiore (LU), Italia; 2 Cassel Hospital, Richmond, Surrey, UK; 3 Reparto di Psichiatria, Ospedale di Massa, Azienda USL 1, Massa Carrara, Italia


The relationship between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar spectrum as separate diagnostic categories is controversial. The suggestion by some authors that BPD falls within the bipolar spectrum is based on the assumption that affective instability develops through the same mechanism in both diagnostic categories, but existing evidence is insufficient to support this concept. The aim of this study is to evaluate the expression of the temperament components in patients suffering from BPD and identify correlations between temperament and the disorder itself.

Material and method

We recruited 37 subjects who met criteria for BPD on the Structured Diagnostic Interview for DSM-IV. The Diagnostic Interview for borderline patients (DIB) and the self-rated questionnaire for affective temperaments (TEMPS-S) were used.


Depressive and cyclothymic temperaments were the most frequently found in the whole sample and in males, respectively. We found very few significant correlations between DIB and TEMPS-S scores in the whole sample; in females only, we found a greater number of significant correlations between the two scales, while in males there were no statistically significant correlations.


Our results show that, even if some temperaments are more frequent in borderline patients, the core features of the disorder poorly correlate with each of the temperaments evaluated.

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