Using negative emotions to trace the experience of borderline personality pathology: Interconnected relationships revealed in an experience sampling study

Mary Kate Law, William Fleeson, Elizabeth Mayfield Arnold, R. Michael Furr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

While emotional difficulties are highly implicated in borderline personality disorder (BPD), the dynamic relationships between emotions and BPD symptoms that occur in everyday life are unknown. The current paper examined the function of negative emotions as they relate to BPD symptoms in real time. Experience sampling methodology with 281 participants measured negative emotions and borderline symptoms, expressed as a spectrum of experiences, five times daily for two weeks. Overall, having a BDP diagnosis was associated with experiencing more negative emotions. Multilevel modeling supported positive concurrent relationships between negative emotions and BPD symptoms. Lagged models showed that even after 3 hours negative emotions and several symptoms continued to influence each other. Therefore, results indicated that negative emotions and BPD symptoms are intricately related; some evidenced long-lasting relationships. This research supports emotion-symptom contingencies within BPD and provides insight regarding the reactivity and functionality of negative emotions in borderline pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-70
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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