Degree of correspondence between retrospective and proximal reports of borderline personality disorder symptoms, symptom triggers, and emotions

Malek Mneimne, R. Michael Furr, David Mendrygal, Mary Kate Law, Elizabeth Mayfield Arnold, William Fleeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the degree of correspondence of retrospective reports of personality disorder symptoms, triggers, and emotions with reports closer in time to the actual experiences. Retrospective reports of symptoms, triggers, and emotions are heavily used in both clinical and research settings, yet no study has investigated the correspondence for symptoms or triggers of personality disorders. A total of 257 participants, including 75 with BPD, completed overlapping daily, weekly, monthly, and semi-annual questionnaires. Retrospective reports showed: (1) systematic biases, reporting fewer symptom and situational trigger occurrences, and greater emotion intensities; but (2) little unsystematic error, largely reproducing bias-adjusted individual levels of symptoms, situational triggers, and emotions (rs generally .70–.80). People with BPD did not retrospectively misremember their symptoms, triggers, or emotions much more than others. Thus, retrospective reports of symptoms, triggers, and emotions should be adjusted for systematic bias, but after such adjustment can be taken as relatively faithful accounts of individuals’ experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Accuracy
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Distortion
  • Experience-sampling
  • Retrospective reports
  • Self-report
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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