Preoccupied attachment and emotional dysregulation: Specific aspects of borderline personality disorder or general dimensions of personality pathology?

Lori N. Scott, Yookyung Kim, Kimberly A. Nolf, Michael N. Hallquist, Aidan G.C. Wright, Stephanie D. Stepp, Jennifer Q. Morse, Paul A. Pilkonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emotional dysregulation and impaired attachment are seen by many clinical researchers as central aspects of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Alternatively, these constructs may represent general impairments in personality that are nonspecific to BPD. Using multitraitmultimethod models, the authors examined the strength of associations among preoccupied attachment, difficulties with emotion regulation, BPD features, and features of two other personality disorders (i.e., antisocial and avoidant) in a combined psychiatric outpatient and community sample of adults. Results suggested that preoccupied attachment and difficulties with emotion regulation shared strong positive associations with each other and with each of the selected personality disorders. However, preoccupied attachment and emotional dysregulation were more strongly related to BPD features than to features of other personality disorders. Findings suggest that although impairments in relational and emotional domains may underlie personality pathology in general, preoccupied attachment and emotional dysregulation also have specificity for understanding core difficulties in those with BPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-495
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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