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Patients who meet criteria for recovery from borderline personality disorder (BPD) are more likely to marry and be parents than those who do not recover, and they are more likely to do so at an older age.

That’s what Mary Zanarini, Ed.D., of McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., reported today at a symposium on long-term outcome for borderline personality disorder at APA’s 2013 annual meeting. During the symposium, Zanarini—who is one of the leading researchers on BPD—discussed findings from the McLean Adult Development Study, which looked at marriage stability and parenting as variables in recovery from BPD. “The study focuses on marriage or living stably with a partner and parenting because they are two of the main markers of successful adult adaptation,” Zanarini told Psychiatric News. “Recovery” from BPD was defined as being symptom-free, having at least one stable close relationship, and being employed.

What’s the take-home message? “Clinicians should know that people with BPD can successfully marry or live with a partner in a stable relationship and become parents. But if they do these things while they are still acutely ill and when they are young, it is not as likely to turn out well as if they wait, symptomatically and psychosocially improve quite a bit, and get a bit older and calmer—[in which case] it is quite likely to turn out well.”

To listen to an interview with Zanarini, click here.