Category: Personality Disorders

Symposium

Bidirectional Relationship Between Maladaptive Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Conflict in BPD

Friday, November 17
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom A, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Borderline Personality Disorder | Social Relationships | Emotion Regulation
Presentation Type: Symposium

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by both difficulties with emotion regulation (ER) and interpersonal functioning (Lazarus et al., 2014; Linehan, 1993). The direction of this association remains unclear, however, with evidence that emotional reactivity leads to interpersonal dysfunction (Dixon-Gordon et al., 2011) and interpersonal dysfunction leads to emotional reactivity (Dixon-Gordon et al., 2013). Indeed, ER difficulties account for the BPD-interpersonal dysfunction relation, and interpersonal dysfunction likewise accounts for the BPD-ER relation (Herr et al., 2013). This study aimed to elucidate the temporal relationship among these variables, by examining: (1) whether use of maladaptive ER strategies predicts same-day interpersonal conflict, and (2) whether interpersonal conflict yesterday day predicts next-day maladaptive ER strategies among individuals with varying levels of BPD features.


Participants (174 college students; Mage=20; 88% female; 66% White) completed a measure of BPD features (Morey, 1991) and daily questionnaires for 14 days. Participants reported any maladaptive ER strategies (i.e., suppression, worry/rumination, avoidance) they used in response to the most stressful social and nonsocial events, and whether they engaged in interpersonal conflict in response to these stressors (Chapman et al., 2009).


A two-level logit hierarchical linear model, controlling for distress and day, demonstrated that the odds of interpersonal conflict that day were nonsignificantly higher when participants reported use of any maladaptive ER (OR=3.93, p=.069). BPD features did not moderate this relationship (OR=1.02, p=.48). However, BPD features were associated with greater odds for maladaptive ER (OR=1.06, p=.002). Further, the odds for maladaptive ER were higher when participants reported interpersonal conflict the day before (OR=4.54, p=.003). BPD features moderated this relationship; as total BPD features increased, the relationship between the other two variables decreased (OR=.94, p=.04).


This study highlights the link between interpersonal problems and later maladaptive ER, and unique associations among those with high levels of BPD.

Lauren A. Haliczer

Graduate Student
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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