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ProChild Project

Preventing maltreatment and promoting mental health in children of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder –- ProChild

ProChild is a consortium funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) within the call ”Verhaltensstörungen im Zusammenhang mit Gewalt, Vernachlässigung, Misshandlung und Missbrauch in Kindheit und Jugend“.

Partners of the consortium ProChild:

  • Sub-Project 1 (Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Babette Renneberg): Parenting skills for mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder – a randomized controlled trial
  • Sub-Project 2 (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider): Emotion regulation and mental health in infants and young children of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Sub-Project 3 (Universität Bremen, Prof. Dr. Nina Heinrichs): Family climate and relationship quality in dyads of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder and their infants
  • Sub-Project 4 (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Prof. Dr. Robert Kumsta): Epigenetic mechanisms in the effects of parent training on socioemotional functioning in children of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Sub-Project 5 (Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Urban-Stahl): Children between the systems

Sub-Project 1: Evaluation of a training program for mothers with borderline diagnoses to increase parenting skills and to promote healthy upbringing - a randomized controlled trial

  • Duration: 2019 - 2024
  • Project Management: Prof. Dr. Babette Renneberg
  • Research Assistants: Dr. Charlotte Rosenbach, M.Sc. Jana Zitzmann, Dr. Annika Seehausen
  • Student Assistants: Djamila Ullrich, Liv Modes


Children of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder are a particularly vulnerable group to experience abuse and emotional neglect. Many of these families are in contact with the Youth Welfare system.

In order to prevent the transmission of violence, neglect and psychopathology, it is necessary to increase parental skills and socioemotional functioning in mothers and to improve the support of parents by the child and youth welfare system.

In this study, we will conduct and evaluate the first disorder-specific parenting training program for mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder ("Borderline und Mutter sein"; Buck-Hostkotte, Renneberg & Rosenbach, 2015) in a randomized controlled trial. The training aims to improve parenting behavior, parental self-efficacy and emotion regulation. It therefore covers, inter alia, topics around children’s basic needs, stress as well as strategies to better cope with individual stressors, dealing with emotions, and dysfunctional assumptions about parenting. We assume that the training program will have positive effects on parenting behavior as well as emotion regulation, and hence decrease the risk of child maltreatment.

The competencies and deficits of mothers and their children will be examined on various levels: Intervention-associated changes will be evaluated regarding its impact on epigenetic factors, the subjective experience, emotion regulations skills, mother-child interaction as well as the cooperation between the Youth Welfare System, the Health Care System and families. Recommendations for improved cooperation will be derived.

Furthermore, we aim to describe disorder-specific aspects of dysfunctional parenting behavior as well as Borderline-specific aspects of child maltreatment by comparing mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder to a clinical control group of mothers with Anxiety or Depressive Disorders and healthy mothers.

Based on the results of this research project, we aim to improve standard treatment for mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder and to interrupt the cycle of transmission of abuse and violence from parent to child


  • Rosenbach, C. & Seehausen, A. (in press). "Borderline und Mama sein – wie soll ich das schaffen?!" Ein Training zur Förderung der Erziehungskompetenz von Müttern mit Borderline Persönlichkeitsstörung. Psychologie in Österreich (PIÖ), 40 (5).
  • Rosenbach, C., Buck-Horstkotte, S. & Renneberg, B. (2020). Parenting skills for mothers with BPD - a group training.
  • Rosenbach, C. & Renneberg, B. (2019). "Mein Kind macht das absichtlich – es will mich fertig machen". Negative Grundannahmen von Müttern mit Borderline-Persönlichkeitsstörung: ein Gruppentraining zur Förderung der Erziehungskompetenz. Familiendynamik, 44 (4), 280-288
  • Rosenbach, C., Zitzmann, J. & Renneberg, B. (2019). Borderline und Mutter sein – ein verhaltenstherapeutisches Gruppentraining zur Förderung der Erziehungskompetenz. Psychotherapeutenjournal, 4, 350–356.
  • Renneberg, B. & Rosenbach, C. (2018). Borderline und Mutter sein — Wie kann das gelingen? Ein Gruppentraining für Mütter mit Borderline Persönlichkeitsstörung. Sozial Extra, 42(5), 53–55. 
  • Renneberg, B., Rosenbach, C. (2016). “There is not much help for mothers like me”: Parenting Skills for Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder – a newly developed group training program. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation, 3. 
  • Buck-Hostkotte, S., Renneberg, B.  & Rosenbach, C. (2015). Mütter mit Borderline-Persönlichkeitsstörung. Das Trainingsmanual »Borderline und Mutter sein«. Weinheim: Beltz.

*This manual can be accessed free of charge at: https://refubium.fu-berlin.de/handle/fub188/26429.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please send an email to c.rosenbach[at]fu-berlin.dej.zitzmann[at]fu-berlin.de or annika.seehausen[at]fu-berlin.de.