Borderline Personality Disorder Features and History of Childhood Maltreatment in Mothers Involved With Child Protective Services

Francheska Perepletchikova, Emily Ansell, Seth Axelrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


This study examines the history of childhood maltreatment and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms in mothers whose children were removed from the home by Child Protective Services (CPS) to identify potential targets for future intervention efforts. Forty-one mothers of children removed from the home due to abuse and/or neglect and 58 community-control mothers without CPS involvement were assessed for history of childhood maltreatment, alcohol and drug use, and BPD features. CPS-involved mothers scored significantly higher on measures of childhood maltreatment history and BPD features than did control mothers. The highest BPD scores were associated with the most severe histories of mothers' childhood maltreatment. In total, 50% of CPS-involved mothers reported elevated BPD features, compared with 15% of control mothers. Further, 19% of CPS-involved mothers had self-reported scores consistent with a BPD diagnosis, compared with 4% of control mothers. BPD features rather than maltreatment history per se predicted maternal involvement with CPS, controlling for alcohol and drug use predictors. The present data suggest that evidence-based treatments to address BPD symptoms may be indicated for some CPS-involved parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-190
Number of pages9
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012



  • abusive parents
  • child maltreatment
  • child welfare services/child protection
  • psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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