Alcohol misuse among adolescents with BPD symptoms

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Alcohol misuse among adolescents with BPD symptoms: Exploring the moderating role of reasons for drinking and perceived coping skills in a clinical adolescent sample


Child and Adolescent Mental Health — Folk JB, et al.

March 18, 2020

As risk for alcohol misuse is high among adolescents who experience symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD), researchers here sought the factors influencing the risk for alcohol misuse among youth with BPD symptoms: using alcohol to self‐medicate or to rebel and perceived coping skills. As part of a larger study from the northeastern United States, assessments and diagnostic interviews were conducted in a sample of 181 psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents (Mage = 15.04 years, SD = 1.31 years; 71.8% female, 83.4% White). The relationship between BPD symptoms and alcohol misuse was moderated by the use of alcohol for self‐medication and perceived coping skills, but not by using alcohol for rebellion. Only adolescents who reported lower use of alcohol for self‐medication purposes or higher perceived coping skills exhibited a significant positive correlation between BPD symptoms and alcohol frequency and/or problems. Results thereby imply the significance of determining how much youth are drinking or experiencing consequences, as well as why they are using alcohol. There is a possibility that adolescents with greater BPD symptoms may be reporting more coping skills, but actually displaying the phenomenon of apparent competence (ie, present as ‘in control’, but actually experiencing extreme distress and lacking enough coping skills).