Type of Document Dissertation Author Jennings, Marilyn Elizabeth URN etd-09012003-013813 Title Emotion Regulation In Borderline Personality Disorder: A Psychophysiological Examination Of Emotional Responding And Recovery In BPD Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Psychology, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title John P. Kline Committee Chair Ashby Plant Committee Member Jeanette Taylor Committee Member Paul Trombley Committee Member Thomas Joiner Committee Member Keywords
- Startle-Probe Reflex
- Marsha Linehanís Theory
Date of Defense 2003-06-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study examined affective instability in Borderline Personality Disorder using the
as a direct physiological index of emotional reactivity and regulation. Based upon Marsha Linehanís (1993) theory regarding fundamental deficits in emotion regulation in BPD, we hypothesized that borderline participants would show aberrant patterns of startle potentiation while viewing both pleasant and unpleasant pictorial stimuli.
Participants included 19 undergraduate college students who met criteria for Borderline
Personality Disorder and 16 non-borderline students. Each participant viewed a series of 126
color slides (42 pleasant, 42 neutral, and 42 unpleasant) that were normed on ratings of valence
and arousal. On 64 trials, a 50 ms burst of white noise was presented at differing time frames
following onset of the 6-sec slide-viewing period. Slide valence categories were employed to
assess the startle valence effects as measures of emotional intensity. Later probes were
presented at 6.5, 7.5, 8.5, and 13 sec to assess emotion regulation. Startle blink responses to
the probes were recorded via the EMG.
Borderline participants showed significantly higher overall magnitudes of startle reflex
response to pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant pictorial slides. While comparisons produced a
linear valence effect, borderlines showed no significant valence trends. With respect to emotion regulation, comparison participants produced a positive linear trend across probe times reflecting a general increase in emotional intensity over time. Borderlines produced no such
trend and demonstrated sustained magnitudes of startle across the 13-second epoch. Post hoc
analyses revealed greater startle reactivity among borderline participants and a higher
probability of startle response on any trial. Neither mood state nor affective disposition was
found to be associated with the magnitude of startle response, suggesting that the effects
observed are relatively unique to Axis II psychopathology. The results support Linehanís (1993) hypotheses regarding heightened emotional reactivity and delayed recovery of emotional
responding in BPD.
The results of the present study are interpreted in terms of fundamental deficits in emotion regulation in BPD. Increased ďstartleabilityĒ among borderlines might reflect increased
reactivity of neural circuitry associated with defensive responding. Sustained increase in startle magnitude and probability across probe times might reflect delayed emotional recovery in BPD.
Possible scenarios regarding cortical and subcortical deficits in emotion regulation are offered. The contribution of contextual factors, i.e., aversiveness of the experimental procedure and interpersonal context, are discussed.
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access MANUSCRIPT1.pdf 307.39 Kb 00:01:25 00:00:43 00:00:38 00:00:19 00:00:01 PRELIMINARYPG1.pdf 52.52 Kb 00:00:14 00:00:07 00:00:06 00:00:03 < 00:00:01