The role of affective instability and UPPS impulsivity in borderline personality disorder features

Sarah L Tragesser, R Joe Robinson
Journal of Personality Disorders 2009, 23 (4): 370-83
Current theories of borderline personality disorder (BPD) suggest that extreme levels of affective instability/emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, or a combination of these traits account for the symptoms of BPD. The present study tested the extent to which personality measures of affective instability and impulsivity could account for BPD features in a nonclinical sample. One hundred forty-one undergraduates completed the Affective Lability Scale, the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale, and the Personality Assessment Inventory for Borderlines. Both affective instability and impulsivity were uniquely associated with BPD features. Shifts between euthymia and anger, and between anxiety and depression, were associated with BPD features, as were the urgency and (lack of) premeditation scales. Results indicated that specific BPD features may be differentially accounted for by affective instability vs. impulsivity, consistent with perspectives on BPD emphasizing combinations of affective instability and impulsivity as underlying dimensions of the disorder.

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