Will changing the name of 'Borderline Personality Disorder' reduce public stigma?

Isabelle McGovern, Lisa M Burke

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Public stigma is a critical barrier for people with mental illness to access the appropriate resources and attain positive long-term outcomes. Research examining the relationship between stigma and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is still in its early stages. Current studies indicate high levels of stigma towards people diagnosed with BPD among mental health professionals, but little research has been conducted regarding stigma among the general public. In a sample of 232 American laypeople, the present research assessed current rates of stigma towards those with BPD and evaluated the proposition that changing the diagnostic label of BPD to a randomly assigned alternative name (‘Linehan’s Syndrome’ or ‘Emotional Dysregulation Syndrome’) would decrease stigma ratings towards a vignette character. Overall, stigma towards people with BPD in the general public appears to be relatively high. Findings suggest that changing the diagnostic label of BPD may not directly and immediately decrease public stigma as the hypothesis was found to be not significant. Prior results demonstrating the role of interpersonal contact with people experiencing mental illness to significantly reduce stigma were replicated. Implications include the need for better public psycho-education, and the importance of both adequate clinician advocacy and self-determination for people with BPD. Future research investigating the effectiveness of targeted interventions, the role of symptomatology, and other diagnostic names is required.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Event12th International Treatment of Personality Disorders Conference - Wollongong, Australia
Duration: 2 Nov 20183 Nov 2018


Conference12th International Treatment of Personality Disorders Conference

Cite this