The Costs and Benefits of Daily Social Interaction in Borderline Personality Disorder: A Daily Diary Study
Interpersonal dysfunction and emotion dysregulation are hallmarks of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) pathology. Researchers typically approach these symptom clusters as separate, albeit interacting domains, despite ample clinical and empirical evidence that emotion regulation is often an interpersonal process. Recently, researchers have proposed a model of Interpersonal Emotion Regulation (IER) as a framework for exploring various pathways by which social interactions provide the contexts and mechanisms of affective change. The present study examined whether differences in daily and post-social interaction well-being among women with BPD, compared to controls, were attributable to differences in the IER strategies used in their daily lives. Forty two women with BPD and 45 controls completed two weeks of daily diaries surveying the types of interpersonal behaviors enacted, perceptions of partner responsiveness, and immediate and end of day well-being. Findings revealed that women with BPD interacted in fewer daily social interactions compared to controls. There were also significant group differences in the BPD group’s repertoire of daily interaction partner types and in the social behaviors enacted. As predicted, women with BPD reported less frequent prosocial interaction behaviors, more frequent conflict or negative emotional expression behaviors, more negative perceptions of their partners’ responses, and lower post-interaction and end of day well-being. Despite this, findings revealed that both response-independent and response-dependent prosocial IER processes functioned similarly—and even more effectively—among individuals with BPD. When women with BPD did engage in prosocial behavior and when partners were perceived as highly responsive, the effectiveness of these IER strategies was comparable, and often more potent, to the effectiveness observed in controls.
NotesDegree Awarded: Ph.D. Psychology. American University
Degree grantorAmerican University. Department of Psychology