Observer-rated Coping Associated with Borderline Personality Disorder: An Exploratory Study
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
How to Cite
Kramer, U. (2012), Observer-rated Coping Associated with Borderline Personality Disorder: An Exploratory Study. Clin. Psychol. Psychother.. doi: 10.1002/cpp.1832
- Article first published online: 19 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 14 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 29 DEC 2011
- SNSF. Grant Number: 100014-134562
- Borderline Personality Disorder;
- Affect Regulation;
- Bipolar Disorder;
- Observer-rated Methodology;
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Little is known about coping specificities, as operationalization of the concept of affect regulation, in borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is most important to take into account methodological criticisms addressed to the self-report questionnaire approach and to compare BPD coping specificities to the ones of neighbouring diagnostic categories, such as bipolar disorder (BD).
Sampling and Methods
The present exploratory study compared the coping profiles of N = 25 patients presenting BPD to those of N = 25 patients presenting BD and to those of N = 25 healthy controls. All participants underwent a clinical interview that was transcribed and rated using the Coping Patterns observer-rater system.
Results partially confirmed study hypotheses and showed differences between BPD patients and healthy controls in all coping domains (competence, resources and autonomy), whereas the only coping domain presenting a BPD-specific lack of skills, compared with the BD patients, was autonomy, a set of coping strategies facing stress appraised as challenge. These coping processes were linked to general and BPD symptomatology.
These results extend conclusions of earlier studies on affect regulation processes in BPD and bear important clinical implications, in the context of dialectical behavior therapy and other therapeutic approaches. Limitations of this exploratory study, such as the small sample size, are acknowledged. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Key Practitioner Message
- Coping can be reliably assessed in the narrative process in an non-structured interview frame.
- Patients with borderline personality disorder present with a specific lack of skills in affect regulation related to autonomy issues, compared to patients with bipolar disorder and healthy controls.
- Lack of skills in accommodation to distressing emotions in borderline personality disorder is related to symptom gravity and may be treated using radical acceptance strategies.