Borderline personality disorder traits and suicide risk: The mediating role of insomnia and nightmares

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BACKGROUND: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with high rates of suicide risk and problems related to sleep, including insomnia and nightmares. The purpose of the current study was to assess the potential indirect effect of BPD traits on suicide risk through both/either insomnia and nightmares. METHODS: Participants (N = 281) were recruited via Amazon's Mechanical Turk to complete the study remotely online. Participants completed measures of BPD traits and symptoms, suicide risk (history of suicidal thoughts and behaviors), insomnia symptoms, and distress and impairment related to nightmares. RESULTS: BPD traits and symptoms were moderately to highly correlated to suicide risk, insomnia, and nightmares. In parallel mediation models, BPD traits had a significant indirect effect on suicide risk through insomnia symptoms but not nightmares. LIMITATIONS: The current study assessed problems within the general population and not in a clinical sample. Second, the study relied solely on self-report measures. Futures studies would benefit from investigating these relations in clinical samples utilizing observer-report and interview methods. CONCLUSIONS: BPD traits appear to relate to increased risk for suicide through the relation with sleep concerns, particularly insomnia symptoms. Therefore, assessing and treating sleep problems within individuals with BPD may result in a lower risk for suicide.

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Journal of affective disorders

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