Author(s): vanDijke A, Ford JD
BACKGROUND: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and somatoform disorders (SoD) involve significant problems in relationships and emotion regulation, but the similarities and differences between these disorders in these areas is not well understood.
METHOD: In 472 psychotherapy inpatients BPD and/or SoD diagnoses were confirmed or ruled out using clinical interviews and standardized measures. Emotional under- and over-regulation and indices of adult attachment working models and fears were assessed with validated self-report measures. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine relationships among the study variables and differences based on diagnostic status.
RESULTS: Under-regulation of emotion was moderately related to fear of abandonment but weakly related to fear of closeness. Over-regulation of emotion was moderately related to fear of closeness but not to fear of abandonment. BPD was associated with under-regulation of emotion and fear of abandonment, and, when comorbid with SoD, with fear of closeness. SoD was associated with inhibition or denial of fears of abandonment or closeness, and over-regulation of emotion.
CONCLUSIONS: Study results suggest that insecure attachment may play a role in both BPD and SoD, but in different ways, with hyperactivating emotion dysregulation prominent in BPD and deactivating emotion dysregulation evident in SoD. Also, combined hyper- and de-activating strategy components that may reflect a pattern of disorganized attachment were found, particularly in patients with comorbid BPD and SoD.