Personality Disorder and Criminal Behaviour

What Is the Nature of the Relationship?

Sophie Davison; Aleksandar Janca


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012;25(1):39-45. 

In This Article

Stalking and Borderline Personality Disorder

Sansone and Sansone[10•] examined the relationship between stalking and borderline personality disorder. Stalking consists of chronic, repeated, unwanted nuisance behaviours by an offender, which have adverse psychological and/or physical effects on victims. Because borderline personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships coupled with frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, one might expect this personality disorder to be prominent amongst stalkers. The authors report that previous studies have examined the prevalence of axis II disorders amongst stalkers but grouped them all together or just reported on cluster B as a cluster. The prevalence of borderline personality disorder has not often been reported on specifically. They located five studies between 1995 and 2008 that reported rates of borderline personality disorders amongst samples of stalkers. Four studies found prevalence between 4 and 15%. They consisted of three studies of forensic populations and one of patients who stalked their psychiatrist. A fifth study, of women in the USA looking at retrospective cases of mental health and law enforcement professionals, where having a conviction was not necessary to be included in the study, found a rate of 45%, with borderline personality disorder being the most common diagnosis. The authors pointed out that the rates are likely to vary because of the different methodologies and sample types. They concluded that the differing rates may suggest that stalkers who end up in mental health treatment and forensic settings are more likely to suffer from axis I disorders, in contrast to community samples of less severe stalking, where a significant minority of individuals appear to suffer from borderline personality disorder.


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