Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 349–360 | Cite as

Why Are Women Diagnosed Borderline More Than Men?

  • Andrew E. SkodolEmail author
  • Donna S. Bender


DSM-IV-TR states that borderline personality disorder (BPD) is “diagnosed predominantly (about 75%) in females.” A 3:1 female to male gender ratio is quite pronounced for a mental disorder and, consequently, has led to speculation about its cause and to some empirical research. The essential question is whether the higher rate of BPD observed in women is a result of a sampling or diagnostic bias, or is it a reflection of biological or sociocultural differences between women and men? Data to address these issues are reviewed. The differential gender prevalence of BPD in clinical settings appears to be largely a function of sampling bias. True prevalence by gender is unknown. The modest empirical support for diagnostic biases of various kinds would not account for a wide difference in prevalence between the genders. Biological and sociocultural factors provide potentially illuminating hypotheses, should the true prevalence of BPD differ by gender.

borderline personality disorder gender ratio gender bias gender-related risk factors 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York State Psychiatric InstituteUSA
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Columbia UniversityUSA

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