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10. An examination of the role of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in the presentation and treatment of borderline personality disorder
A significant proportion of individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This comorbidity is associated with increased suicide attempts and impaired quality of life. It has been suggested that PTSD symptoms may negatively affect the response rate of BPD to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). This study investigated the impact of PTSD symptoms on treatment outcomes in DBT among a sample of individuals with BPD and PTSD. Thirty-five patients completed self-report symptom assessments of BPD, PTSD, and emotion dysregulation at baseline and 4-months into treatment. Correlations examined relations among symptom variables at baseline, and linear regressions assessed relations between baseline PTSD symptoms and residualized change scores in BPD symptoms and emotion dysregulation. At baseline, PTSD symptoms were significantly correlated with BPD symptoms and emotion dysregulation (p < .01). PTSD symptoms did not improve over the 4-month treatment period (p > .05), while BPD symptoms and emotion dysregulation significantly improved (p < .05). PTSD symptoms at baseline did not predict change in BPD symptoms or emotion dysregulation (p > .05). Findings suggest that PTSD symptoms do not impact ability to benefit from DBT. Future work should determine when to optimally treat PTSD among individuals with this pernicious comorbidity.