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Exploring the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and Epistemic Trust in adolescents

Draper, Elise; (2017) Exploring the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and Epistemic Trust in adolescents. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex disorder that is associated with a range of functional, emotional and inter-personal difficulties. In recent years, consensus regarding whether or not BPD should be diagnosed in childhood and adolescence has altered, moving from the view that such a diagnosis is potentially harmful, to observations that the diagnosis may in fact be beneficial, by increasing understanding about young people’s difficulties and improving access to timely and formulated interventions. Developmental theories of BPD have placed difficulties in mentalizing, and more recently difficulties with epistemic trust, at the core of BPD. However the nature of these difficulties remains unclear. This thesis therefore aims to explore and clarify the relationship between mentalizing abilities, epistemic trust and BPD in adolescence. Part one is a literature review which aimed to critically assess studies that have investigated the relationship between mentalizing and BPD symptomology in adolescents. The review revealed the challenges that are associated with the assessment of mentalizing in adolescents, due to the complexity of mentalizing as a psychological construct and the challenges associated with assessing mentalizing abilities. Although there is an overall lack of clarity among findings, a body of evidence appears to be emerging to suggest that a relationship exists between hypermentalizing and BPD symptomology in adolescents. Part two is an empirical research paper which explored the relationship between epistemic trust and BPD symptomology in adolescents. It investigates whether severity of BPD symptomology is associated with performance on tasks designed to measure epistemic trust. Additionally, the relationships between psychopathology, relationship difficulties and epistemic trust were also explored. No support was found for the hypothesis that BPD symptom severity is associated with reduced epistemic trust in adolescents. However, there was mixed support for the hypotheses that there is an association between psychopathology and lower levels of epistemic trust, and relationship difficulties and lower levels of epistemic trust. Reasons for these findings are explored and implications for future research and clinical practice are considered. This study was conducted as part of a joint project (Greisbach, 2017; Reches, 2017). Part three presents a critical appraisal of the research project, which provides reflections on the difficulties and benefits associated with diagnosing BPD in adolescence, the difficulties associated with measuring complex psychological constructs and methodological challenges that occurred when carrying out the research project, alongside reflections on the research process as a whole.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Exploring the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and Epistemic Trust in adolescents
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10033809
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