Affect in response to stressors and coping strategies: an ecological momentary assessment study of borderline personality disorder

Chaudhury, Sadia R.; Galfalvy, Hanga C.; Biggs, Emily; Choo, Tse-Hwei; Mann, J. John; Stanley, Barbara

Affect instability is a core symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Ecological momentary assessment allows for an understanding of real-time changes in affect in response to various daily stressors. The purpose of this study was to explore changes in affect in response to specific stressors and coping strategies in subjects with BPD utilizing ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methodology.

Subjects (n = 50) with BPD were asked to complete real-time assessments about stressors experienced, affect felt, and coping strategies employed six times per day for a 1-week period. Mixed effect regression models were used to measure the effect of stressors and coping strategies on affect change.

While most stressors led to experiencing more negative affect, only being in a disagreement was independently associated with increased negative affect. Among coping strategies, only doing something good for oneself independently reduced negative affect, controlling for all other coping strategies used.

These findings provide valuable insights into affective instability in BPD and can help inform treatment with individuals with the disorder.


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Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation

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November 14, 2017


Keywords: Borderline personality disorder, Affect, Coping, Ecological momentary assessment