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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"It feels like this massive weight" : the impact of stigma on health care experiences as described by people with Borderline Personality Disorder Wolchok, Emma Justine


People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often experience numerous mental and physical health issues, and consequently interact with health care professionals on a regular basis. There is a pervasive negative attitude towards people with BPD amongst health care professionals, as people with BPD are perceived as attention seeking, manipulative, hostile, and willfully resistant to treatment. This stigma influences the way people with BPD are treated by professionals. The current body of literature about the experiences of people with BPD in the health care system focuses exclusively on the mental health care system. The research reviewed in this study sought to answer the question: How do people with BPD describe interactions with health care professionals when accessing care for physical health issues? This paper reports findings from interviews with five people living with BPD. Although these participants did not describe unpleasant or stigmatizing experiences in health care specifically, they reported feeling stigmatized in general due to their diagnosis, and these experiences of stigma influenced the way they access health care. The data gathered from these participants have several implications for service delivery to people with BPD.

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