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Article   |    
How Nursing Staff Respond to the Label "Borderline Personality Disorder"
Ruth Gallop; W. J. Lancee; Paul Garfinkel
Psychiatric Services 1989; doi:
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Ontario Ministry of Health, The Faculties of Nursing and Medicine at the University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, Toronto Hospital, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MSG 2C4

Department of Social and Community Psychiatry at Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto

Toronto Hospital, The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto

1989 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The influence of the diagnostic labels "schizophrenia" and "borderline personality disorder" on the expressed empathy of psychiatric nursing staff was assessed by examining nurses' written responses to a series of hypothetical patient statements. Respondents were more likely to demonstrate affective involvement in response to the schizophrenic patients' statements and were more likely to offer belittling or contradicting responses to the statements of patients with borderline personality disorder. The results corroborate increasing concerns that the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder has become a pejorative label for difficult patients and suggest that staff may provide stereotypic responses and less empathic care to borderline patients than to other patients.

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