Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joseph Baker

Committee Members

Martha Copp, Leslie McCallister


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a debilitating personality disorder that impacts anywhere between 1% to 5% of Americans. Studies claim that women are significantly more at risk than men to suffer from this disorder and may experience stronger symptoms. Previous research has found that victims of childhood abuse such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect are more at risk for developing Borderline Personality Disorder as adults, particularly when abuse is paired with genetic susceptibility. Some researchers claim that there are no detectable racial differences in Borderline Personality Disorder, but previous studies often have very small sample sizes taken from clinical patients. To examine the sociological patterns of BPD diagnosis with a representative population sample, data was analyzed from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions to examine gender, race, and childhood abuse as predictors. Results show that racial minority status is actually a stronger predictor than gender. Examining intersectional effects shows that black women and Native American men have significantly elevated risks for BPD in adulthood. Overall, a history of sexual and emotional abuse are the most significant driving factors of BPD, regardless of race and gender.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.