Structural stigma and its impact on healthcare for consumers with borderline personality disorder: protocol for a scoping review

Pauline Klein, Kate Fairweather, Sharon Lawn, Helen Margaret Stallman, Paul Cammell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Structural stigma in health systems experienced by consumers diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a widespread phenomenon that causes major health inequities and harm for this population. Structural stigma in this context relates to institutional policies, cultural norms, and organizational practices that limit consumers’ access to health services, quality of care, and capacity to achieve optimal health and well-being. BPD is a serious mental illness with high morbidity and mortality, characterized by instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotional and behavioral deregulation, which stem from significant traumatic childhood/life events, and/or biological etiologies. The objectives of this scoping review are to explore the international literature on structural stigma in healthcare systems specific to BPD, and to provide an overview of the impact of structural stigma on health services for BPD consumers and their carers/families. Methods: This scoping review will follow the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) scoping review guidelines. We will search the following electronic databases (from inception onwards): MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and JBI-Evidence databases. Grey literature will be identified through the Google search engine. We will include all types of literature in English, published and unpublished, including any study design, reviews, clinical practice guidelines, policy reports, and other documents. No restrictions on publication date of sources of evidence will be applied. International literature should examine structural stigma associated with BPD in any healthcare setting such as, outpatients, inpatients, primary health care, or community-based facilities. Two reviewers will independently screen all titles, abstracts, and full-text citations. Quality appraisal of the included sources of evidence will be assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) 2018 version. Data analysis will involve quantitative (e.g., frequencies) and qualitative (e.g., thematic analysis) methods. Discussion: This review is anticipated to enhance both identification and understanding of those structures in health systems (i.e., institutional policies, cultural norms, and practices) that manifest and perpetuate stigma experienced by consumers with BPD and their carers/families. The findings can be used to inform future research, policy, and practice relating to stigma reduction strategies that can be adopted to improve the provision of BPD-responsive services and care for this population. Systematic review registration: Open Science Framework (

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages7
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Clinicians
  • Crisis care
  • Health systems
  • Healthcare services
  • Stigma


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