How mothers with borderline personality disorder relate to their 12–18 month-old infants


The condition of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most distinctive psychiatric syndromes of adulthood. Environmental factors such as child sexual abuse, and other family influences such as maternal over involvement and inconsistency may have a role in its pathogenesis. Indeed, various forms of maternal psychopathology may be associated with patterns of mother–infant interaction that have an impact on infant development. In this podcast, Dr Margaret Murphy speaks with Professor Peter Hobson about his study which aimed to assess how women with BPD engage with their 12-18 month-old infants in separation-reunion episodes.


Date published: 7 June 2010

Audio running time: 22 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will:


  • understand the importance of doing a study on how mothers with borderline personality disorder relate to their infants


  • describe the methods used and have an understanding of the Strange Situation test


  • be aware of the different kinds of attachment styles in children


  • have an understanding of the clinical implications of this study for the future; and reflect about considering support for mothers with borderline personality disorder.


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Please note: This podcast was recorded in 2010. Please be aware that some of the material covered and/or guidance may have changed.
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If you like this podcast, you may also be interested in the following:


Borderline personality disorder by Prof Martin Bohus


Attachment and how it relates to psychiatry by Dr Helen Minnis

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