Affective instability, family history of mood disorders, and neurodevelopmental disturbance

Howard Berenbaum, Keith Bredemeier, M. Tyler Boden, Renee J. Thompson, Melissa Milanak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The association between affective instability and both family history of mood disorders and signs of neurodevelopmental disturbance was examined in a sample of 303 adults. Affective instability was measured using the borderline personality disorder "affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood" diagnostic criterion as assessed dimensionally using the Personality Disorder Interview - IV. Participants were interviewed concerning family history of mood disorders, with family history coded using the Family History Research Diagnostic Criteria. Minor physical anomalies, inconsistent hand use, and dermatoglyphic asymmetries were used to index neurodevelopmental disturbance. Affective instability was associated with elevated rates of family history of mood disorders, particularly among individuals who exhibited inconsistent hand use and greater minor physical anomalies. These associations could not be accounted for by shared variance with age, gender, negative affect, or personal history of mood disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-229
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • affective instability
  • borderline personality disorder
  • family history
  • mood disorders
  • neurodevelopmental disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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