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First empirical evaluation of the link between attachment, social cognition and borderline features in adolescents. Compr Psychiatry 2016 Jan;64:4-11

Date

08/25/2015

Pubmed ID

26298843

DOI

10.1016/j.comppsych.2015.07.008

Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84940705311   59 Citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Several developmental models of borderline personality disorder (BPD) emphasize the role of disrupted interpersonal relationships or insecure attachment. As yet, attachment quality and the mechanisms by which insecure attachment relates to borderline features in adolescents have not been investigated. In this study, we used a multiple mediational approach to examine the cross-sectional interplay between attachment, social cognition (in particular hypermentalizing), emotion dysregulation, and borderline features in adolescence, controlling for internalizing and externalizing symptoms.

METHODS: The sample included 259 consecutive admissions to an adolescent inpatient unit (Mage=15.42, SD=1.43; 63.1% female). The Child Attachment Interview (CAI) was used to obtain a dimensional index of overall coherence of the attachment narrative. An experimental task was used to assess hypermentalizing, alongside self-report measures of emotion dyregulation and BPD.

RESULTS: Our findings suggested that, in a multiple mediation model, hypermentalizing and emotion dysregulation together mediated the relation between attachment coherence and borderline features, but that this effect was driven by hypermentalizing; that is, emotion dysregulation failed to mediate the link between attachment coherence and borderline features while hypermentalizing demonstrated mediational effects.

CONCLUSIONS: The study provides the first empirical evidence of well-established theoretical approaches to the development of BPD.

Author List

Sharp C, Venta A, Vanwoerden S, Schramm A, Ha C, Newlin E, Reddy R, Fonagy P

Author

Andrew T. Schramm PhD Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin




MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Adolescent
Borderline Personality Disorder
Child
Cognition
Cross-Sectional Studies
Emotions
Female
Hospitalization
Humans
Inpatients
Internal-External Control
Interpersonal Relations
Male
Object Attachment
Social Behavior
Theory of Mind