Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Mari Ann Graham


Social Work


The purpose of this research was to discover what drives the diagnostic practices of clinicians working with adolescents with a possible Borderline Personality Disorder. The DSMV allows this diagnosis in adolescents but it is rarely utilized by practitioners for this age group. A qualitative research method was used for the project, in which, participants were interviewed inperson to collect data. There were nine total participants in the Twin Cities metro area, who were all qualified to render mental health diagnoses and worked with adolescents. The interviews focused on the participant's personal practices and experiences with regard to diagnosis of BPD in adolescent patients. Interviews were analyzed using content analysis and coded for accuracy. Emergent themes from the study included a reluctance to diagnose BPD in adolescents, CoOccurring and Alternative diagnosis, and Risks/Benefits to the diagnosis in this age group. The findings of this study suggest an overall lack of a universal understanding of what Borderline Personality Disorder looks like in adolescence, lack of consistency on how clinicians respond when they encounter it in practice, and deviations from DSMV guidelines and actual clinical practices.

Included in

Social Work Commons