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The centrality of affective instability and identity in Borderline Personality Disorder: Evidence from network analysis

posted on 2017-10-17, 17:46 authored by Juliette Richetin, Emanuele Preti, Giulio Costantini, Chiara De Panfilis

We argue that the series of traits characterizing Borderline Personality Disorder samples do not weigh equally. In this regard, we believe that network approaches employed recently in Personality and Psychopathology research to provide information about the differential relationships among symptoms would be useful to test our claim. To our knowledge, this approach has never been applied to personality disorders. We applied network analysis to the nine Borderline Personality Disorder traits to explore their relationships in two samples drawn from university students and clinical populations (N = 1317 and N = 96, respectively). We used the Fused Graphical Lasso, a technique that allows estimating networks from different populations separately while considering their similarities and differences. Moreover, we examined centrality indices to determine the relative importance of each symptom in each network. The general structure of the two networks was very similar in the two samples, although some differences were detected. Results indicate the centrality of mainly affective instability, identity, and effort to avoid abandonment aspects in Borderline Personality Disorder. Results are consistent with the new DSM Alternative Model for Personality Disorders. We discuss them in terms of implications for therapy.