This study evaluated the effect of mentalization-based treatment by partial hospitalization compared to treatment as usual for borderline personality disorder 8 years after entry into a randomized, controlled trial and 5 years after all mentalization-based treatment was complete.
Interviewing was by research psychologists blind to original group allocation and structured review of medical notes of 41 patients from the original trial. Multivariate analysis of variance, chi-square, univariate analysis of variance, and nonparametric Mann-Whitney statistics were used to contrast the two groups depending on the distribution of the data.
Five years after discharge from mentalization-based treatment, the mentalization-based treatment by partial hospitalization group continued to show clinical and statistical superiority to treatment as usual on suicidality (23% versus 74%), diagnostic status (13% versus 87%), service use (2 years versus 3.5 years of psychiatric outpatient treatment), use of medication (0.02 versus 1.90 years taking three or more medications), global function above 60 (45% versus 10%), and vocational status (employed or in education 3.2 years versus 1.2 years).
Patients with 18 months of mentalization-based treatment by partial hospitalization followed by 18 months of maintenance mentalizing group therapy remain better than those receiving treatment as usual, but their general social function remains impaired.
(Reprinted with permission from The American Journal of Psychiatry 2008; 165:631–638)