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12-09-2020

Developmental Trajectories of Adolescent Girls’ Borderline Personality Symptoms and Sexual Risk Behaviors

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Auteurs:
Sophia Choukas-Bradley, Alison E. Hipwell, Savannah R. Roberts, Anne J. Maheux, Stephanie D. Stepp
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Abstract

Adolescence is a developmental period during which youth tend to initiate sexual behavior, which may include sexual risk behavior. Symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) are associated with increased rates of risky behaviors. However, little is known about longitudinal associations between BPD symptoms and sexual risk behaviors during adolescence. This study examines developmental trajectories of adolescent girls’ BPD symptoms and sexual risk behaviors in a community sample of Black and White girls from the Pittsburgh Girls Study (n = 1620). Dual trajectory modeling provided insights into the temporal precedence and co-development of BPD symptoms and sexual risk behaviors from ages 14 to 18. In order to examine the unique association between BPD symptoms and sexual risk behaviors, analyses controlled for symptoms of depression and conduct disorder, as well as race, sexual orientation, and pubertal development. Girls with more BPD symptoms at age 14 showed steeper growth over time in sexual risk behaviors from ages 14 to 18. Additionally, adolescents who showed steeper increases in BPD symptoms over time also showed steeper increases in sexual risk behaviors across adolescence. Notably, however, sexual risk behavior at age 14 was not significantly associated with longitudinal trajectories of BPD symptoms. Results suggest that adolescent girls with early symptoms of BPD are at heightened risk for the development of sexual risk behaviors during adolescence, while the reverse association does not hold. Implications for adolescent development and sexual risk behavior are discussed.

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