Objective: Although much attention has been given to the effects of adverse childhood experiences on the development of personality disorders (PDs), we know far less about how recent life events influence the ongoing course of functioning. We examined the extent to which PD subjects differ in rates of life events and the extent to which life events impact psychosocial functioning.
Method: A total of 633 subjects were drawn from the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study (CLPS), a multi-site study of four personality disorders – schizotypal (STPD), borderline (BPD), avoidant (AVPD), obsessive-compulsive (OCPD) – and a comparison group of major depressive disorders (MDD) without PD.
Results: Borderline personality disorder subjects reported significantly more total negative life events than other PDs or subjects with MDD. Negative events, especially interpersonal events, predicted decreased psychosocial functioning over time.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate higher rates of negative events in subjects with more severe PDs and suggest that negative life events adversely impact multiple areas of psychosocial functioning.