Childhood Maltreatment, Aspects of Emotional Processing and Borderline Personality Disorder

Kristina Sesar, Arta Dodaj, Matea Kovačević


The main aim of the study was to retrospectively examine the correlations between childhood maltreatment, emotional processing, and symptoms of borderline personality disorder. The study was conducted through online platforms on a sample of 227 young woman participants from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The age range of participants in this study was between 17 and 31 years, with a mean age of 23 years (SD =3.03). Research findings suggest that individuals who have had traumatic experiences in their early life are more prone to developing borderline personality disorder symptomatology and have lower levels of emotion regulation and lower scores on the empathy subscales (personal distress and perspective taking). Individuals with higher symptoms of borderline personality disorder report experiencing four types of traumatic experiences, excluding sexual abuse, have lower levels of emotion regulation, and score higher on the empathy subscales (personal distress, perspective taking, and fantasy). The findings of the study, based on the evidence on childhood maltreatment, highlight the need to develop strategies to mitigate the risk factors for developing more severe difficulties in young adulthood.


Borderline personality disorder; Childhood maltreatment; Empathy; Emotional regulation; Emerging adulthood.

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