Despite the fact that family involvement is encouraged in early interventions for borderline personality disorder (BPD), there is a limited knowledge on the experience of caring for adolescents with BPD. This is an exploratory retrospective study nested within a randomized controlled trial that compared mentalization-based treatment (MBT) in groups to treatment as usual for adolescents with BPD. Caregivers received six MBT-Parents sessions or standard care over one year. Three months after end of treatment (EOT), 75 caregivers (35 in MBT, 40 in TAU) filled out the Burden Assessment Scale, and 71 (34 in MBT, 37 in TAU) the Family Satisfaction Survey. The adolescents filled out the Borderline Personality Features Scale for Children at baseline and after twelve months at EOT. We tested whether caregiver demographics, adolescents’ severity of BPD, treatment and adolescents’ dropout from treatment predicted levels of caregiver burden and satisfaction with treatment. The caregivers reported high levels of burden on the BAS (M = 40.3, SD = 12.2). Our study suggests that higher BPD severity at EOT among the adolescents predicted caregiver burden (p =.03), whereas higher baseline BPD severity predicted satisfaction with treatment (p =.04) and that biological mothers could be more burdened than other types of caregivers but also might be more satisfied with treatment. Treatment and adolescents’ dropout from treatment were not related to caregiver burden or satisfaction with treatment. To help inform future research and to devise appropriate interventions for caregivers and adolescents with BPD, it is important to identify possible predictors of caregiver burden. The results of this initial exploratory study indicate that caregivers (and particularly biological mothers) of adolescents with more severe levels of BPD could be particularly vulnerable toward feelings of burden and therefore are in need of support.
- Borderline personality disorder