Interpersonal problems and social dysfunction: Examining patients with avoidant and borderline personality disorder symptoms

Katharine D McCloskey, Daniel W Cox, John S Ogrodniczuk, Olivier Laverdière, Anthony S Joyce, David Kealy
Journal of Clinical Psychology 2020 August 1

OBJECTIVE(S): Interpersonal problems are one of the most persistent difficulties facing those with personality disorders (PDs) and are linked with dysfunction across numerous social domains. Using an interpersonal model of PDs, we examined the indirect effects of Avoidant PD (AvPD) symptoms and social dysfunction through interpersonal problems, as well as Borderline PD (BPD) symptoms and social dysfunction.

METHODS: Participants were 226 adults taking part in an outpatient treatment program.

RESULTS: Using cross-sectional data from self-reported measures, we found that cold (b = 0.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.038, 0.176]) and overly nurturant (b = 0.04, 95% CI [0.001, 0.090]) interpersonal problems showed an indirect association between AvPD symptoms and social dysfunction. The only significant indirect association between BPD symptoms and social dysfunction was overly nurturant (b = 0.05, 95% CI [0.001, 0.120]).

CONCLUSIONS: Results may aid in the development of more individualized treatments for AvPD and BPD symptoms.

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