Date of Graduation

5-2017

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department or Program

Psychology

Number of Pages

90

First Advisor

White, Kate

Abstract

Interpersonal dysfunction is a hallmark feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD); however, the specific ways in which BPD is related to interpersonal dysfunction is not yet known. This study sought to explore interpersonal dysfunction in BPD by testing two leading bodies of literatures regarding the core constructs of BPD: Linehan’s biosocial theory of emotion regulation and Fonagy’s theory of attachment insecurity. Study 1 investigated if insecure attachment or emotion dysregulation mediate the relationship between BPD symptom severity and social cognition. Study 1 found that higher BPD symptom severity and higher emotion dysregulation predicted a stronger ability to identify affective states of characters in a story, but neither emotion regulation nor attachment explained the relationship between BPD symptom severity and higher empathy. Study 2 investigated if insecure attachment or emotion dysregulation mediate the relationship between BPD symptom severity and subjective and objective distress in response to social exclusion. Study 2 found that participants with higher BPD symptom severity reported stronger negative affect and exhibited lower heart rate variability, an objective measure of distress, throughout the experiment, regardless of the social exclusion. Emotion dysregulation and attachment did not explain the relationship between BPD symptom severity and distress in response to social exclusion. Both studies captured different aspects of interpersonal functioning, and the results of these studies may be useful to inform future research on interpersonal functioning and treatment for BPD.

Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

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Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.

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