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Theory of Mind and Emotion Regulation Difficulties in Adolescents With Borderline Traits

Sharp, C; Pane, H; Ha, C; Venta, A; Patel, AB; Sturek, J; Fonagy, P; (2011) Theory of Mind and Emotion Regulation Difficulties in Adolescents With Borderline Traits. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , 50 (6) 563 - 573. 10.1016/j.jaac.2011.01.017. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: Dysfunctions in both emotion regulation and social cognition (understanding behavior in mental state terms, theory of mind or mentalizing) have been proposed as explanations for disturbances of interpersonal behavior in borderline personality disorder (BPD). This study aimed to examine mentalizing in adolescents with emerging BPD from a dimensional and categorical point of view, controlling for gender, age, Axis I and Axis II symptoms, and to explore the mediating role of emotion regulation in the relation between theory of mind and borderline traits. Method: The newly developed Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC) was administered alongside self-report measures of emotion regulation and psychopathology to 111 adolescent inpatients between the ages of 12 to 17 (mean age = 15.5 years; SD = 1.44 years). For categorical analyses borderline diagnosis was determined through semi-structured clinical interview, which showed that 23% of the sample met criteria for BPD. Results: Findings suggest a relationship between borderline traits and "hypermentalizing" (excessive, inaccurate mentalizing) independent of age, gender, externalizing, internalizing and psychopathy symptoms. The relation between hypermentalizing and BPD traits was partially mediated by difficulties in emotion regulation, accounting for 43.5% of the hypermentalizing to BPD path. Conclusions: Results suggest that in adolescents with borderline personality features the loss of mentalization is more apparent in the emergence of unusual alternative strategies (hypermentalizing) than in the loss of the capacity per se (no mentalizing or undermentalizing). Moreover, for the first time, empirical evidence is provided to support the notion that mentalizing exerts its influence on borderline traits through the mediating role of emotion dysregulation. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2011;50(6): 563-573.

Type: Article
Title: Theory of Mind and Emotion Regulation Difficulties in Adolescents With Borderline Traits
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2011.01.017
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2011.01.017
Language: English
Additional information: This is the authors' submitted version of this published article.
Keywords: borderline personality disorder, social cognition, mentalizing, theory of mind, emotion dysregulation, mentalization-based treatment, personality-disorder syndrome, social cognition, follow-up, children, eyes, IV, diagnosis, deficits
UCL classification: UCL
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1309794
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