Gender Differences in BPD
While BPD is more commonly diagnosed in females, this may represent a gender difference in those who seek treatment. Since the 1980s, the DSM has indicated that this disorder is more common in women than men. However, a recent study called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions found that BPD is equally as common among men and women.
Currently, most researchers in the field agree with this finding. The over-diagnosing of females by clinicians represents a gender bias with regards to BPD. Sampling bias may also be responsible for the gender discrepancy with this disorder. For example, if females display more self-harming behaviors than men, and use mental health services more frequently because of this, it follows that studies conducted in this setting would report more females than males.
In addition, the way that BPD expresses itself may be different between males and females due to cultural norms, parenting styles or natural gender differences in behavior. One study found that men with BPD had more explosive temperaments than females with BPD. They also had higher levels of novelty-seeking behaviors coupled with harm avoidance. Women with BPD, on the other hand were characterized by high levels of harm avoidance but not novelty seeking. In other words, explosive elements and novelty seeking represent two major distinctions between men and women with borderline personality disorder.