Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a controversial psychiatric diagnosis. Despite an increasing amount of research looking at the BPD diagnosis when applied to young people, there is limited understanding of the key viewpoints of mental health professionals working with young people in the UK. This research aims to use Q-methodology to contribute to understanding the multiple views of the diagnosis.
Q-statements about views of the BPD diagnosis were selected from relevant journals, internet sites and social media platforms and were validated by a Q-methodology research group, the research supervisors and an online group of individuals with BPD. Q-sorts were then used to explore the viewpoints of 27 mental health professionals in the UK working with children and adolescents. Analysis of the data was completed using Q-methodology analysis software.
Three main factors emerged from the data, explaining 66% of the variance. Of the 27 participants, 24 loaded onto these three factors, defined as: harmful not helpful; language and optimism; and caution and specialist services. Three Q-sorts did not load significantly onto any one factor.
There appears to be at least three ways of understanding the BPD diagnosis for young people. It may be useful for clinicians to consider and share their own viewpoint, be open to difference and formulate difficulties from an individual perspective.
Vickers, G., Combes, H. and Lonsdale, J. (2023), "Mental health professionals’ views of the borderline personality disorder diagnosis for children and young people: a Q-methodological study", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-09-2021-0104
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