Development and Psychopathology

Special Issue: Developmental Psychopathology Approaches to Borderline Personality Disorder

Child maltreatment, attention networks, and potential precursors to borderline personality disorder

FRED A.  ROGOSCH  a1 c1 and DANTE  CICCHETTI  a1 a2 c2
a1 Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester
a2 Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

Article author query
rogosch fa   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
cicchetti d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Potential precursors to borderline personality disorder (BPD) were investigated in a sample of 185 maltreated and 175 nonmaltreated school-aged children attending a summer camp research program. Self-report, peer-report, and counselor-report measures were utilized to assess developmental constructs conceptualized to constitute vulnerability for later emerging BPD. These areas, including personality features, representational models of self, parent, and peers, interpersonal relationship difficulties with peers and adults, and suicidal/self-harm behavior, were used to develop a BPD precursors composite. Additionally, the efficiency of three attention networks was assessed with a computerized task. Maltreated children had higher mean scores on the BPD precursors composite, and children classified as having high levels of these precursors were more prevalent in the maltreatment group. No maltreatment group differences were found for the efficiency of the three attention networks; however, children with high levels of BPD precursors evinced less efficient processing of the conflict attention network, comparable to findings observed among adult patients with BPD. Child maltreatment and efficiency of the conflict attention network independently predicted scores on the BPD precursors composite. Experiential and biological contributions to risk for BPD and recommendations for prevention and intervention are discussed. a

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Fred A. Rogosch, Mt. Hope Family Center, 187 Edinburgh Street, Rochester, NY 14608; E-mail:
c2 Or address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dante Cicchetti, University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development, 51 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455


a This research was supported by funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA11741) and the Spunk Fund, Inc.