Stealing Youth: Personality Disorder Goes to College

  • Vivien ChanEmail author


Personality disorders are common in young adults and can be very disruptive on college campuses. This chapter describes the case of a young man with major depressive disorder complicated by borderline, avoidant, and antisocial personality traits. The case presentation illustrates the evolution of his symptoms as he transitions to college, the challenges of making a correct diagnosis with inadequate corroborating information from family and previous treatment providers, and the difficulties encountered when information “silos” exist among campus offices. The discussion focuses on the importance of adequate history taking, teaching non-clinicians about maladaptive personality traits and splitting, managing safety concerns, and establishing appropriate treatment on campus.


Borderline personality disorder in college transition Antisocial personality disorders in college DBT in college mental health centers Privacy laws affecting college students Wellness recovery action plans on college campuses 


  1. 1.
    Linehan M. DBT® skills training manual. 2nd ed. New York: The Guildford Press; 2014.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Henggeler S, Schoenwald S, Borduin C, et al. Multisystemic therapy for antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. 2nd ed. New York: The Guildford Press; 2009.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bleiberg E. Treating personality disorders in children and adolescents: a relational approach. New York: The Guildford Press; 2001.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gunderson J, Stout R, McGlashan T, et al. Ten-year course of borderline personality disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(8):827–37.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Biskin R. The lifetime course of borderline personality disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2015;60(7):303–8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gunderson JG, Links P. Borderline personality disorder: a clinical guide. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pistorello J, Fruzetti A, MacLane C, et al. Dialectical Beahvior Therapy (DBT) applied to college students: a randomized clinical trial. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2012;80(6):982–94.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bateman A, O’Connell J, Lorenzini N, et al. A randomized controlled trial of mentalization-based treatment versus structured clinical management for patients with comorbid borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:304. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chen H, Cohen P, Johnson J, et al. Adolescent personality disorders and conflict with romantic partners during the transition to adulthood. J Pers Disord. 2004;18(6):507–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Busse H, Harrop T, Gunnel D, et al. Prevalence and associated harm of engagement in self-asphyxial behaviors (‘choking game’) in young people: a systematic review. Arch Dis Child. 2015;100:1106–14.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Student Health Center, University of California IrvineIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorUCI HealthOrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations