Descriptive and longitudinal observations on the relationship of borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to test whether borderline personality disorder is a variant of bipolar disorder by examining the rates of co-occurrence in both disorders, the effects of co-occurrence on a longitudinal course, and whether the presence of either disorder confers the risk for new onsets of the other. METHOD: A prospective repeated-measures design with reliable independent diagnostic measures and 4 years of follow-up was used to assess 196 patients with borderline personality disorder and 433 patients with other personality disorders. RESULTS: Patients with borderline personality disorder had a significantly higher co-occurrence of bipolar disorder (19.4%) than did patients with other personality disorders. However, this co-occurrence did not appear to affect the subsequent course of borderline personality disorder. Although only 8.2% of the borderline personality disorder patients developed new onsets of bipolar disorder, this rate was higher than in patients with other personality disorders. Patients with other personality disorders with co-occurring bipolar disorder generally had more new onsets of borderline personality disorder (25%) than did patients with other personality disorders without co-occurring bipolar disorder (10%). CONCLUSIONS: A modest association between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder is reported.

published proceedings

  • Am J Psychiatry

author list (cited authors)

  • Gunderson, J. G., Weinberg, I., Daversa, M. T., Kueppenbender, K. D., Zanarini, M. C., Shea, M. T., ... Dyck, I.

citation count

  • 147

complete list of authors

  • Gunderson, John G||Weinberg, Igor||Daversa, Maria T||Kueppenbender, Karsten D||Zanarini, Mary C||Shea, M Tracie||Skodol, Andrew E||Sanislow, Charles A||Yen, Shirley||Morey, Leslie C||Grilo, Carlos M||McGlashan, Thomas H||Stout, Robert L||Dyck, Ingrid

publication date

  • January 2006