Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology - Florida School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christina Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Eric Rosen

Third Advisor



Current widely-accepted conceptualizations regarding borderline personality disorder (BPD) profess that trauma is not required in the etiology of BPD and place a significant focus on biological predispositions. This review sought to evaluate the current paradigms regarding BPD and examine whether trauma may be the most significant contributing factor in the development of BPD. Studies on developmental trauma (including psychological maltreatment) and attachment were examined. These studies appear to strongly support the idea that when disrupted attachment and psychological maltreatment are taken into consideration, trauma does appear to be both necessary and sufficient as primary etiological factors in the development of BPD. As such, a reconceptualization of BPD as a trauma disorder may be beneficial in both destigmatizing BPD and for more effective treatments.