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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines self-inflicted injury (SII) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) as overlapping—but not identical—constructs showing similar patterns of comorbidity with externalizing disorders. More specifically, it discusses similarities in biological vulnerabilities and contextual risks for SII, BPD, and externalizing disorders. Before assessing links between SII, BPD, and externalizing psychopathology, the authors provide historical context on the evolving conceptualizations of BPD and SII over time. They then describe the current state of research, citing behavioral genetics and family studies as well as studies that focus on the role of environmental risk factors. The chapter also describes prevalence rates, typical age of onset, and developmental course with respect to externalizing disorders; controversies surrounding the diagnosis of BPD early in the developmental trajectory; and how understanding connections among SII, BPD, and externalizing disorders may help elucidate etiological mechanisms. The chapter concludes by outlining future directions for research.

Keywords: self-inflicted injury, borderline personality disorder, comorbidity, externalizing disorders, biological vulnerabilities, psychopathology, behavioral genetics, family studies, environmental risk factors

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