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Differentiating Symptom Profiles of ICD-11 PTSD, Complex PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder: A Latent Class Analysis in a Multiply Traumatised Sample

Jowett, Sally; Karatzias, Thanos; Shevlin, Mark; Albert, Idit


Sally Jowett

Mark Shevlin

Idit Albert


Background: Complex PTSD (CPTSD) has been included as a diagnostic category in the ICD-11 consisting of six symptom clusters; the three PTSD criteria of Re-experiencing, Avoidance, and Hypervigilance, in addition to three Disturbances of Self-Organisation (DSO) symptoms defined as Emotional Dysregulation, Interpersonal Difficulties, and Negative Self-Concept. As Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) shares similar features to DSO presentations and is commonly associated with PTSD, there is debate as to whether and how CPTSD is distinct from PTSD comorbid with BPD.
Aim: To identify groups with distinct profiles of self-reported CPTSD and BPD symptoms and associated trauma history characteristics.
Method: A Latent Class Analysis (LCA) using CPTSD and BPD symptom variables was conducted on a sample of 195 treatment-seeking adults at a specialist trauma service. The classes were then compared on demographic and clinical characteristics using a series of ANOVA and chi-square tests.
Results: The LCA determined three distinct classes; a CPTSD/High BPD class characterised by high symptom endorsement across both conditions; a CPTSD/Moderate BPD class characterised by high PTSD and DSO symptom endorsement and moderate BPD; and a PTSD/Low BPD class characterised by PTSD symptoms and low DSO and BPD symptom endorsement. The two CPTSD classes were associated with greater exposure to multiple, interpersonal traumas earlier in life and exhibited higher functional impairment.
Conclusions: Findings support the construct of a CPTSD diagnosis as a separate entity although BPD features seem to overlap greatly with CPTSD symptoms in this highly traumatised clinical sample.


Jowett, S., Karatzias, T., Shevlin, M., & Albert, I. (2020). Differentiating Symptom Profiles of ICD-11 PTSD, Complex PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder: A Latent Class Analysis in a Multiply Traumatised Sample. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 11(1), 36-45.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 10, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 1, 2019
Publication Date 2020-01
Deposit Date May 15, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2019
Journal Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Print ISSN 1949-2715
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 36-45
Keywords Complex PTSD; PTSD; BPD; interpersonal trauma; comorbidity 2
Public URL


Differentiating Symptom Profiles Of ICD-11 PTSD, Complex PTSD... (773 Kb)

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©American Psychological Association, 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:

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