Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Borderline personality disorder in adolescence, Teenage girls-Mental health, Foster children-Mental health, Attachment behavior in adolescence, Boundary ambiguity, Borderline personality traits, Attachment, Foster care, Adolescent girls


This study explores the relationship between boundary ambiguity (the level of certainty of a person's presence and role in a family) and borderline personality traits in adolescent girls in foster care. The sample consists of a total of 40 caseworkers from New England's child protection departments and psychotherapists from residential programs working with adolescent girls. They completed by email the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure for Adolescents (SWAP-200-A), a variation of Pauline Boss's Boundary Ambiguity Scale #1 (BAS), and demographic questionnaires. The results find that the primary hypothesis has a significant correlation, r(38)=.451, p=.003. Subordinate hypotheses also significant include: relationship between boundary ambiguity and mother's predictable visitation and relationship between boundary ambiguity and goal of reunification. These findings may have an impact on social policies guiding ultimate goals set by state agencies.




i, v, 206 p. Dissertation (Ph.D.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 126-136).