Objective: To examine the relationship between trauma in childhood and personality disorders in adulthood.
Method: A review of the literature was conducted.
Results: The reported associations between trauma and personality pathology are illuminated by the following
research findings: 1) personality is heritable; 2) only a minority of patients with severe personality disorders
report childhood trauma; and 3) children are generally resilient, and traumatic experiences do not consistently
lead to psychopathology.
Conclusions: The role of trauma in the personality disorders is best understood in the context of gene-environment
Taking into account the effects of genes does not mean
downplaying the effects of childhood trauma. Rather, we
need to develop methods to identify children who are particu-
larly vulnerable to environmental insults (80). We need to
explain the mechanisms that determine differences between
children who are resilient and those who are not.