Category: Personality Disorders

Symposium

Symposium 72 - Emotional Reactivity and Regulation in BPD: Illuminating Patterns Across Diverse Contexts and Samples

Saturday, November 18
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom B, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Borderline Personality Disorder | Emotion Regulation | Translational Research
Presentation Type: Symposium

Recent decades have heralded a focus on emotional dysfunction as a mechanism underlying numerous forms of psychopathology (Kring et al., 2008). In particular, clinicians and researchers have described borderline personality disorder (BPD) as the prototypical disorder of emotional dysfunction (Jazaieri et al., 2013; Linehan, 1993). Early cross-sectional research underscored this notion, with evidence of greater emotional reactivity and emotion regulation difficulties in BPD, relative to controls (Henry et al., 2001; Salsman & Linehan, 2012). Yet, lab research yielded inconclusive results, with some studies finding emotional hyperreactivity in BPD (Dixon-Gordon et al., 2011) and others findingelevated negative affect, but not reactivity, in BPD (Jacob et al., 2009). Further, although emotion dysregulation is theorized to underlie BPD, there is surprisingly little work characterizing the emotion regulation strategies used by those with BPD. Thus, the extent to which sample and contextual differences influence emotional dysfunction in BPD remains unclear (Chapman et al., 2009), and there is a clear need to examine real-time emotional reactivity and regulation in BPD across diverse contexts and populations.


Thus, the goal of this symposium is to present a series of studies using innovative lab-based and naturalistic paradigms to study emotional responding and regulation in BPD across domains (subjective, physiological) and diverse populations and contexts. First, Turner and colleagues will present data on subjective and physiological reactivity and regulation in response to standardized emotional stressors among three groups: self-injurers with BPD pathology, self-injurers without BPD, and non-self-injuringcontrols. Next, Dixon-Gordon and colleagues will report findings on emotional reactivity and regulation in participants with BPD versus participants with other emotional disorders and healthy controls. Then, Conkey and colleagues will present data on subjective and physiological indices of emotional reactivity and regulation in the lab among younger and older adults with BPD symptoms. Finally, extending this research to emotional functioning in naturalistic settings, Herr and colleagues will describe findings of the association between BPD features and emotional reactivity to a range of interpersonal conflicts among cohabitating couples.


Dr. Kim L. Gratz, an expert in emotion regulation and BPD, will discuss the broader implications of these studies, focusing on how recent findings may inform our understanding of emotion responding and regulation in BPD. Dr. Gratz will also discuss the implications of this research on treatment for patients with BPD. As such, this symposium may provide a roadmap for refining our study and treatment of emotional dysfunction in BPD.

Learning Objectives:

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon

Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Katherine Dixon-Gordon

Kim L. Gratz

Professor and Chair
University of Toledo

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Kim Gratz

Brianna J. Turner

Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Victoria

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Brianna Turner

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon

Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Katherine Dixon-Gordon

Lindsey Conkey

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Lindsey Conkey

Send Email for Nathaniel Herr


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