Child-Parent Attachment Styles and Borderline Personality Disorder Relationship

Senija Tahirovic, Adela Bajric


Many studies have focused on the attachment styles and their impact on human functioning and relationships (Bretherton, 1992). Some attachment styles have been associated with pathological way of human overall functioning, and it has already been observed that insecure attachment style in childhood may be associated with personality dysfunction (Brennan & Shaver, 1998).

The purpose of this study is to investigate how people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) describe their attachment style to the primary caregivers from their memories from childhood. This study was conducted in Germany in an inpatient psychiatric clinic. Fifteen participants represented a convenience sample, of patients already diagnosed with BPD. For this study Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) was used. The AAI is a semi-structured interview focusing on the early attachment experiences and their effects based on Attachment Theory.The results indicated that people diagnosed with BPD showed both preoccupied and dismissing child-parent attachment style,however it was the dismissing attachment style that dominated in our sample. The findings supported the hypothesis that participants who showed dismissing attachment style also used positive adjectives to describe the relationship  with their primary caregiver, and those with the preoccupied attachment style used negative adjectives to describe the relationship  with their primary caregiver.

Even though, study was conducted with small number of participants, the study did provide evidence that there is a relationship between BPD and attachment styles in childhood. Threfore, the study offered contribution to the already existing knowledge and research findings regarding the influence of attachment style on BPD development.

Keywords: Attachment, Personality disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), child, childhood


Attachment; Personality disorder; Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD); Child; Childhood

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