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Mentalizing and interpersonal problems in borderline personality disorder: The mediating role of identity diffusion

De Meulemeester, C; Lowyck, B; Vermote, R; Verhaest, Y; Luyten, P; (2017) Mentalizing and interpersonal problems in borderline personality disorder: The mediating role of identity diffusion. Psychiatry Research , 258 pp. 141-144. 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.09.061. Green open access

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Abstract

Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are characterized by problems in interpersonal functioning and their long-term social integration often remains problematic. Extant theories have linked identity diffusion to many of the interpersonal problems characteristic of BPD patients. Recent theoretical accounts have suggested that identity diffusion results from problems with mentalizing or reflective functioning, that is, the capacity to understand oneself and others in terms of intentional mental states. In this study we tested these assumptions, i.e., whether identity diffusion plays a mediating role in the relationship between mentalizing difficulties and interpersonal problems, in a sample of 167 BPD patients. Highly significant correlations were found between mentalizing impairments, identity diffusion and interpersonal problems. Mediation analyses showed that identity diffusion fully mediated the relationship between mentalizing difficulties and interpersonal problems. This study provides preliminary evidence that impairments in mentalizing are related to identity diffusion, which in turn is related to interpersonal problems in BPD. Further longitudinal research is needed to further substantiate these conclusions.

Type: Article
Title: Mentalizing and interpersonal problems in borderline personality disorder: The mediating role of identity diffusion
Location: Ireland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.09.061
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.09.061
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Borderline personality disorder, Identity diffusion, Interpersonal problems, Mentalizing, Reflective functioning
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025760
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