The role of negative affect and self-concept clarity in predicting self-injurious urges in borderline personality disorder using ecological momentary assessment

J. Wesley Scala, Kenneth N. Levy, Benjamin N. Johnson, Yogev Kivity, William D. Ellison, Aaron L. Pincus, Stephen J. Wilson, Michelle G. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Deficits in identity as well as negative affect have been shown to predict selfinjurious and suicidal behaviors in individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, less is known about the interactive effects of these two predictors. We examined the moderating effect of a particular component of identity, self-concept, on the relationship between negative affect and self-injurious urges utilizing ecological momentary assessments. Outpatients diagnosed with either BPD (n = 36) or any anxiety disorder but no BPD (n = 18) completed surveys throughout the day over a 21-day period. Higher levels of momentary negative affect predicted greater subsequent urges to self-injure, but only when self-concept clarity was low (z = −3.60, p <. 01). This effect did not differ between diagnostic groups. The results suggest that self-concept clarity has a protective effect against self-injurious urges in light of high negative affect, and that this effect may be transdiagnostic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-57
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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