Reactivity to sensations in borderline personality disorder: a preliminary study.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are widely considered to have problems with emotional reactivity. However, the specific kinds of stimuli that are associated with heightened emotional reactivity in BPD have not been well characterized. Thus, it is unclear whether the emotional dysfunction in BPD occurs in response to any emotionally evocative stimuli, or to specific classes of stimuli. In this study, we used subjective measures (self-report and interview-based) to compare reactivity to sensations (auditory, gustatory, olfactory, tactile, visual) between participants with BPD (n = 30) and healthy controls (n = 50). Controlling for trait negative emotional reactivity, individuals with BPD reported being significantly more reactive across sensory stimuli. However, the difference between controls and BPD was significantly greater for reactivity to auditory stimuli compared to other sensory stimuli. Findings from this study provide preliminary data suggesting individuals with BPD may be characterized by heightened self-reported reactivity to aversive sounds.
Rosenthal, MZ; Ahn, R; Geiger, PJ
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