Back to the theories of John G. Gunderson…
Social and Cultural Factors
Evidence shows that borderline personality is found in about 1 -2% of the population. There may be societal and cultural factors which contribute to variations in its prevalence. A society which is fast-paced, highly mobile, and where family situations may be unstable due to divorce, economic factors, or other pressures on the caregivers, may encourage development of this disorder.
I've already mentioned the percentage of the population that is suspected to have BPD. That the pervasiveness in our society has to do with the failings of society itself is interesting. With fear of abandonment, separation, instability, inability to attach, emotional upheaval … it’s easy to see how society could influence this. Especially if the numbers of BPD have increased exponentially or in a manner disproportionate to that of normal population growth. With the destruction of the typical nuclear family, both parents in the work force, constant moving to accommodate a moving job market… all make it difficult for children to find stability. I don’t think this is enough though. Just as many people with BPD are abuse victims, more than that number have suffered abuse and don’t develop personality disorders at all. A society that expects more, pushes harder, is more likely to adversely affect those with the predisposition for BPD (or other personality disorders), but I don’t think it’s enough to say that it is a primary cause. The pace and change in society is not new, it’s on going and ever present and millions, if not billions of people deal with it every day. I do think that if the predisposition for BPD exists that these things could certainly contribute, but I don’t think they are a cause in and of itself.
Aside: It makes me wonder about the military brats in particular. I wonder if there is a higher discrepancy in the military community for BPD than in regular society. It would be an interesting study in ratios if it could be done.