Impact of borderline personality disorder traits on the association between age and health-related quality of life: A cohort study in the general population

L Botter*, M Ten Have, D Gerritsen, R de Graaf, S D M van Dijk, R H S van den Brink, R C Oude Voshaar

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Increasing age as well as borderline personality pathology are associated with a lower level of health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). Our objective was to investigate whether the presence of borderline personality traits modifies the association between age and HR-QoL in the general population. Methods Cross-sectional data from 5,303 respondents (aged 21-72 years) of the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 were analyzed. Borderline personality traits were assessed with the International Personality Disorder Examination questionnaire. Mental and physical HR-QoL were measured with the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form Health Survey. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the association of borderline personality traits, age and their interaction on mental as well as physical HR-QoL, adjusted for demographic variables as well as somatic and mental disorders. Results A total of 1,520 (28.7%) respondents reported one or more borderline personality traits of which 58 (1.1%) reported five or more indicative of a borderline personality disorder. A higher age was associated with lower physical HR-QoL. This negative association became significantly stronger in the presence of borderline personality traits. The association between increasing age and mental HR-QoL was positive in the absence of borderline personality traits and negative in the presence of borderline personality traits. Conclusion Borderline personality traits negatively interfere with the association between age and HR-QoL irrespective of somatic and mental disorders. Attention of clinicians and researchers for subthreshold borderline personality pathology is needed in middle-aged and older persons.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere33
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26-Apr-2021


  • Aging
  • borderline personality disorder
  • older adults
  • quality of Life
  • SF-36

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