Social Information Processing and Cluster B personality pathology among clinic-referred adolescents

C. Hessels, M.A.G. van Aken, B. Orobio de Castro, O.M. Laceulle, G. van Voorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated relations between personality pathology and mentalizing capacities reflected in social information processing (SIP) of adolescents.

Sampling and Methods:
96 adolescent outpatients completed a structured interview regarding SIP. Their clinicians completed a checklist based on DSM-IV, assessing severity of personality pathology.

Significant relations were found between the severity of personality pathology and SIP: the more severe the personality pathology, the higher the intensity of reported emotions, the more likely adolescents were to choose inadequate coping strategies and aggressive reactions in social situations, and the more positively they evaluated aggressive reactions. Severity of traits of antisocial (ASPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) had unique associations with distinctive SIP variables: ASPD being more related to inadequate coping strategies, less reflection on other's motives and aggressive responses, and BPD being more related to avoidant or prosocial responses and in particular to memories of frustrating events.

This study provides evidence for difficulties in SIP among adolescents with more severe personality pathology, suggesting that the steps in the SIP model can be used to operationalize mentalizing problems. The results seem to paint a picture of ASPD and BPD having a shared background, but their own specific problems concerning SIP.
Keywords: Adolescents · Mentalizing · Personality pathology · Social information processing ·
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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