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.
- Borderline personality disorder
- Retrospective reports
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health