Hopwood, Christopher James (2008-08). Interpersonal process and borderline personality. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Although borderline personality is characterized by a variety of interpersonal antecedents and consequences, interpersonal theory has yet to develop an adequate model of the disorder. It was hypothesized that considerations of non-interpersonal features that influence interpersonal behavior can inform the description of the interpersonal process associated with borderline personality. Specifically, it was proposed that borderline personality is not adequately conceptualized as characterized by rigid and extreme traits. Instead identity diffusion, or under-developed personality organization, characterizes the disorder, as do notable problems with perception and behavioral impulsivity. Three samples of dyads interacting in a collaborative task were compared using structural equation models of their traits and situational behavior from the perspectives of multiple raters. Two samples included dyads without a borderline interactant and one dyad had one person with and another without borderline personality features. It was hypothesized that dyads including borderline participants would manifest behavior that deviates from normative interpersonal processes. Results were consistent with hypotheses in suggesting that dyads without an individual who has borderline characteristics demonstrate very similar interpersonal patterns, whereas dyads with a borderline interactant deviate from normative interpersonal process. Specifically, borderline individuals appear to be hyper-perceptive of others' efforts to control (dominate or submit to) them. With regard to affiliation (warmth vs. coldness), borderline individuals appear to have very different perceptions of their own interpersonal style than do individuals who know them, and unlike nonborderline individuals, these styles exert minimal influence on their behavior in interpersonal situations. These results suggest practical implications that vary across interpersonal dimensions. Data imply that clinicians should take seriously suggestions by borderline patients that they feel controlled. With regard to affiliation, data are consistent with the theory of identity diffusion in suggesting that borderline personality features are associated with a lack of stable interpersonal traits that influence behavior across situations, and the development of such a style is an important therapeutic target.
  • Although borderline personality is characterized by a variety of interpersonal
    antecedents and consequences, interpersonal theory has yet to develop an adequate model
    of the disorder. It was hypothesized that considerations of non-interpersonal features that
    influence interpersonal behavior can inform the description of the interpersonal process
    associated with borderline personality. Specifically, it was proposed that borderline
    personality is not adequately conceptualized as characterized by rigid and extreme traits.
    Instead identity diffusion, or under-developed personality organization, characterizes the
    disorder, as do notable problems with perception and behavioral impulsivity. Three
    samples of dyads interacting in a collaborative task were compared using structural
    equation models of their traits and situational behavior from the perspectives of multiple
    raters. Two samples included dyads without a borderline interactant and one dyad had
    one person with and another without borderline personality features. It was hypothesized
    that dyads including borderline participants would manifest behavior that deviates from
    normative interpersonal processes.
    Results were consistent with hypotheses in suggesting that dyads without an
    individual who has borderline characteristics demonstrate very similar interpersonal
    patterns, whereas dyads with a borderline interactant deviate from normative
    interpersonal process. Specifically, borderline individuals appear to be hyper-perceptive
    of others' efforts to control (dominate or submit to) them. With regard to affiliation
    (warmth vs. coldness), borderline individuals appear to have very different perceptions of
    their own interpersonal style than do individuals who know them, and unlike nonborderline
    individuals, these styles exert minimal influence on their behavior in
    interpersonal situations. These results suggest practical implications that vary across interpersonal dimensions. Data imply that clinicians should take seriously suggestions by
    borderline patients that they feel controlled. With regard to affiliation, data are consistent
    with the theory of identity diffusion in suggesting that borderline personality features are
    associated with a lack of stable interpersonal traits that influence behavior across
    situations, and the development of such a style is an important therapeutic target.

publication date

  • August 2008