Background/Objectives: Differentiating bipolar disorder (BD) from a borderline
personality disorder (BPD) can be diagnostically challenging as symptoms such as,
depression, aggression and interpersonal relationships are common to both conditions.
Identifying related and unrelated items between BD and BPD may improve diagnostic
accuracy since both diagnoses have varying treatments which can be implemented before a
behavioral emergency occurs. This study sought to determine which features of BPD, as
assessed by the Borderline Personality Features Scale-Child (BPFS-C), are related to BD in
youth diagnosed with BD.
Methods: Thirty participants (M: 16, F: 14), with BD, aged 7-17 years (mean ± standard
deviation, 12.95 ± 3.08 years) met DSM-V criteria for BD I (n=20) and BD II (n=3). The
Course and Outcome of Bipolar Youth criteria was used to establish the BD–Not Otherwise
Specified diagnosis (n=7). The 24-item self-report BPFS-C was administered to the youth.
Two-tailed Pearson correlations were performed to assess associations between scores on the
BPFS-C with scores on various psychopathology-related predictor variables while adjusting
for age, race and primary BD diagnosis.
Results: Higher BPFS-child scores positively correlated with child scores of more severe
depression, self-injurious behaviors, and increased impulsive aggression.
Conclusion: BPFS-child scores may assist clinicians in identifying youth with BD who may
be on the trajectory to developing BPD and thus, implementing targeted psychotherapeutic