In our recently released book about Borderline Personality Disorder, we discuss the possible cultural conditions that nourish the beginnings of BPD. Adolescence can also be a breeding ground for increases in anxiety and depression for similar reasons. In fact, studies demonstrate that rates of anxiety and depression have been increasing at alarming rates for several decades.
Here is an excerpt from our new book: Borderline Personality Disorder For Dummies (just now available through Amazon).

Adolescence is a relatively modern concept that refers to the transition period between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence emerged as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution as a way to keep children in school and out of sweatshops–not such a bad idea. However, as it has evolved, adolescence has become a tumultuous and treacherous time for many teens. Arguably, adolescence brings with it large chunks of free time, which means numerous opportunities for teens to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Pressures mount for teens to have more, be more, and be noticed.

Adolescence is a time when psychological disorders, including signs of personality disorders such as BPD, emerge. Problems with gangs, violence, drug use, sensation seeking, eating disorders, and risky sexual behavior have burgeoned among adolescents in the past four or five decades. Of course, we’re not saying that adolescence itself causes emotional disorders; after all, many adolescents mature into adulthood with no sign of any emotional disorders. However, from a historical perspective, BPD symptoms and behaviors have only been written about in the past century or so–which coincides with the emergence of adolescence as feature of modern culture. When kids were busy milking cows and gathering crops, much less adolescent angst existed among teens. Perhaps, if we can give teens more important tasks than texting, video gaming, and hanging out at the mall, they won’t be as easily seduced by self-destructive behaviors.

What do YOU think?

We’ll discuss other possible contributors to BPD, as well as other emotional disorders, in some future blogs–obviously “adolescence” isn’t the only one! BPD has many complex interacting causes that range from genetics to early learning experiences and cultural influences.



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Prof.Lakshman (July 21, 2009)

    Last reviewed: 21 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Smith, L. (2009). Adolescence: A Contributor to Anxiety, Depression, and Borderline Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 3, 2015, from


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Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. are authors of many books, including Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies and Child Psychology & Development for Dummies.

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