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McLean researcher

Mary C. Zanarini: Laboratory for the Study of Adult Development

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) involves maladaptive symptoms or traits in affect, cognition, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Founded in 1994, the Laboratory for the Study of Adult Development’s team of clinician-scientists include some of the world’s leading experts on BPD.

Our research was integral to the validation of BPD as a psychiatric disorder, meaning that it can be differentiated from other disorders, it runs in families, it has a known treatment response, its biological underpinnings are identifiable, and it has a known course and prognosis. Our work has also led to a now widely held theory of the etiology of BPD: that those with BPD have a vulnerable temperament or a hyperbolic temperament that is exacerbated by childhood or adulthood adversity.