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Dissertation

The relationship between perspective taking and negative affect in individuals with borderline personality disorder

1 January 2016

Abstract

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that encompasses a constellation of devastating symptoms that negatively impacts the lives of many. Individuals with BPD also demonstrate impairment in perspective taking abilities. Previous studies have linked perspective taking to decrease in negative affect in university samples. The purpose of this study was to measure the relationship between perspective taking and negative affect in individuals with BPD. Participants included five women who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Each participant completed self-report questionnaires measuring trait negative affect, trait perspective taking abilities, and current negative affect. Participants read an anger-inducing vignette and engaged in a mentalization-based therapy intervention using the two-chair technique to increase perspective taking skills. Given the small sample size, visual analysis was used to interpret the study findings. Results indicated increased negative affect after participants read the anger-inducing vignette, and decrease in negative affect after participating in the perspective taking intervention. The results also demonstrated individuals with greater trait perspective taking scores showed greater decrease in negative affect after engaging in the perspective taking intervention. Furthermore, individuals with greater trait perspective taking scores also reported lower trait negative affect scores. These results suggest a negative relationship between perspective taking ability and negative affect in individuals with borderline personality disorder.


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