Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Jane Lyle Hord
Title The Effect of Society's Stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder on the Identities of Persons with Borderline Personality Disorder
Department Sociology
Advisors Keith Doubt, David Nibert, and Josephine Wilson
Year 2009
Honors Departmental Honors
Full Text View Thesis (127 KB)
Abstract This study is designed to explore the effect of society's stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) on the identities of persons with Borderline Personality Disorder. Also, the strength of the public's stigma of BPD will be investigated. This study's objectives are: to see how strongly society's stigma of BPD is felt by people with BPD; to see how much the stigma affects how people with BPD feel about themselves; to see if there is a way to destigmatize or debunk the stigma associated with BPD; and to see if there are ways to educate members in society resist and reframe the stigmas associated with BPD. Surveys were handed out to patients with BPD from two doctors' offices and consumers at the NAMI center in Springfield, OH. The surveys asked questions exploring how what they think society thinks about people with BPD and what they think about themselves. Students at Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH were asked to fill out a survey. The surveys will ask what they think about persons with BPD and what they think about themselves. There were two focus groups, one from a law firm in Lexington, KY and one from a contracting company in Paris, KY. The focus group at the law firm watched a clip of Fatal Attraction, which portrays BPD in a negative way. The group from the contracting company read a section of the book Get Me Out of Here, which portrays BPD in a more positive light. The groups were then asked some open-ended questions and then filled out the same survey as the students. The open-ended questions further explored what they thought about BPD and how the portrayal changed their views. In the findings so far, it was found that the students indicated that they did not stigmatize persons with BPD very much. There were some significant differences between some indicators on the control variables of sex and if they knew someone with BPD. There were several significant differences between the focus groups, in both the surveys and discussions, indicating that the group that watched the movie had more negative views towards BPD. As of now, there are not enough patient surveys to do significant statistics. However, looking at the differences between the students' and patients' means and modes of the different indicators suggests that the patients experience and are aware of a stronger stigma than the students denote.

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