A team of psychologists conducted a meta-analysis of 97 papers on the link between childhood psychological trauma and mental disorders and found that patients with borderline personality disorder are several times more likely to report stress at an early age, both in comparison with a healthy population and in comparison with patients who have made other mental diagnoses.
The basis for many mental illnesses in adulthood can be stressful events experienced in childhood: the death of a parent, long-term illness, bullying at school or low social status. For example, the psychological trauma experienced in childhood significantly increases the risk of relapse in patients with depression and makes the disease resistant to treatment.
The role played by childhood trauma in borderline personality disorder is considered key, but all the studies conducted to date are not unambiguous come. A team of psychologists led by C. Porter from The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK decided to systematize the known data using meta-analysis.
In total, they collected 97 studies, which in total included data on 11,366 patients diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder, 13,128 patients observed with other mental illness, 3,732 healthy people. For each participant, Demographic information (gender, age, social status and other information), health information, mental health information, and information about their childhood, specifically the lack of care, data on bullying or violence in any other manifestation of it, and the loss of one parent (or both) in under the age of 19.
Of all patients diagnosed with borderline disorder, 71.1% reported experiencing stress in childhood, which is 13.91 times more than among participants from the control group of healthy people and 3.15 times more than among patients with other mental diseases. The most significant effects were observed among those patients who reported neglect and emotional abuse.
The authors concluded that, on the basis of a meta-analysis, childhood injury can be safely classified as a risk factor for developing borderline personality disorder in adulthood, and the effect is apparently more pronounced than for any other mental illnesses.
One of the mechanisms that can determine the effect of childhood trauma on mental health can be a change in the structure of the brain.