The relationship between illegal behaviors and borderline personality symptoms among internal medicine outpatients

Randy A. Sansone, Charlene Lam, Michael W. Wiederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: In psychiatric dysfunction, illegal behaviors are frequently associated with the traditional prison personality antisocial personality disorder. However, some empirical data indicate that illegal behaviors may also be associated with borderline personality, which is the focus of the present study. Method: Using a cross-sectional sample of consecutive internal medicine outpatients from a resident-provider clinic, we examined relationships between 27 illegal behaviors as delineated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's crime-cataloguing schema and 2 measures of borderline personality disorder (BPD), the BPD scale of the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 and the Self-Harm Inventory. Results: The overall correlations between BPD and the number of the 27 illegal behaviors endorsed were r = 0.32 (P <.001, n = 375) for the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 and r = 0.47 (P <.001, n = 372) for the Self-Harm Inventory. Six specific illegal behaviors were endorsed by at least 12 participants each, and analyses indicated associations for each of these illegal behaviors with BPD (ie, aggravated and simple assault, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, drug abuse violations, public drunkenness/intoxication). These 6 behaviors may be interrelated through alcohol/substance use. Participants who were male and younger were more likely to report having engaged in a greater number of different illegal behaviors. Conclusions: There appear to be associations between illegal behaviors and BPD, particularly in relation to alcohol/substance abuse and in young men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between illegal behaviors and borderline personality symptoms among internal medicine outpatients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this