A Longitudinal Investigation of Borderline Personality Disorder and Criminal Behavior

Jordan Daylor

Advisor: June P Tangney, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Jeffrey Stuewig, Sarah Fischer, Tim Curby

David J. King Hall, #2013
July 23, 2019, 01:00 PM to 04:00 PM


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic mental illness that disproportionately affects incarcerated individuals (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Conn et al., 2010; Grant et al., 2008). Extensive cross-sectional research has demonstrated a positive relationship between BPD and criminal behavior (Berman et al., 1998; Coccaro et al., 1997; Snyder et al., 1986). However, little is known about 1) the types of crimes especially associated with BPD and 2) the directionality of the relationship between BPD and criminal behavior. The current study investigated these research questions using a large, longitudinal sample of jail inmates. Results indicated that BPD was related to a variety of different types of crimes both pre- and post-incarceration. Additionally, cross-lagged SEM analyses indicated that a unidirectional model in which BPD positively predicted subsequent crime fit the data best. Findings remained significant after correcting for Type 1 error rates for multiple analyses, and results were also consistent for both males and females. Findings provide evidence for a causal link between BPD and a multitude of subsequent criminal behavior. Results also emphasize the need for BPD treatment in correctional settings as a means of reducing post-release criminal recidivism.