Does Public Stigma Towards People with Borderline Personality Disorder Differ among Mental Health Providers?
Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Stephanie H. Felgoise, PhD, ABPP
David Festinger, PhD
Michelle Lent, PhD
Amy Cunningham, PsyD
Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) frequently utilize the mental health system, representing around 20% of visits in outpatient settings. Individuals with BPD often have high levels of disability, morbidity, and mortality. Unfortunately, individuals with BPD are typically considered difficult patients because of the perception of their symptoms. Mental health providers often have more negative attitudes towards them, manifesting in diminished empathy, greater blame and judgement, increased difficulty providing care, and avoidance. This stigma is likely to further diminish treatment engagement. This study sought to identify mental health provider characteristics associated with higher levels of stigma. Based on prior research, it was hypothesized that (a) psychiatrists would have significantly higher levels of stigma towards BPD than social workers and psychologists; (b) providers with training in treating personality disorders (PDs) would have lower levels of stigma than those who did not; and (c) providers who have been employed in their profession longer would have significantly higher levels of stigma. Seventy-four psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers were recruited via listservs and Facebook to participate in an online survey assessing demographics, clinical experience, and level of stigma using the Mental Health Provider Self-Assessment of Stigma Scale. Psychiatrists had higher levels of stigma towards individuals with BPD than did psychologists and social workers. Neither PD training nor time in current profession was found to be significantly correlated with stigma. These results may inform future approaches to reducing stigma toward people with BPD and to increasing quality of patient care and prognosis.
Manganello, Katie, "Does Public Stigma Towards People with Borderline Personality Disorder Differ among Mental Health Providers?" (2021). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 582.