According to Linehan (1993), emotion dysregulation is a central feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD). We hypothesized that patients with BPD are emotionally hyperresponsive. For BPD treatment, it is important to evaluate this hypothesis, because, if it is supported, therapeutic interventions could be designed to help patients to better manage hyperemotional reactions. We investigated the subjective reactions (in terms of valence and arousal) of patients with BPD to visual emotional stimuli of the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). We hypothesized that, compared to patients with Cluster-C personality disorders and non-patients, BPD patients would show higher scores on the arousal dimension and higher negative scores on the valence dimension when rating IAPS pictures with varying degrees of arousal and valence. Ratings of valence and arousal for 40 IAPS pictures were collected from 39 borderline personality disorder (BPD), 36 patients diagnosed with Cluster-C personality disorders (PD), and a group of 226 non-patients. Contrary to expectations, BPD patients did not differ from the non-patients. This indicates that their self-report scores do not reflect hypersensitivity. We found that patients with BPD showed lower scores on arousal than Cluster-C PD patients. The scores on valence suggested that Cluster-C PD patients also experienced more positive emotions than BPD patients.
- Borderline personality disorder
- Cluster-C personality disorder
- Emotion dysregulation
- AFFECTIVE INSTABILITY
- CHILDHOOD ABUSE