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Natural emotion vocabularies and borderline personality disorder


Entwistle, Charlotte; Horn, Andrea B; Meier, Tabea; Hoemann, Katie; Miano, Annemarie; Boyd, Ryan L (2023). Natural emotion vocabularies and borderline personality disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 14:100647.

Abstract

Background
Emotion dysregulation is a characteristic central to borderline personality disorder (BPD). Valuably, verbal behaviour can provide a unique perspective for studying emotion dysregulation in BPD, with recent research suggesting that the varieties of emotion words one actively uses (i.e., active emotion vocabularies [EVs]) reflect habitual experience and potential dysregulation therein. Accordingly, the present research examined associations between BPD and active EVs across two studies.

Methods
Study 1 (N = 530) comprised a large non-clinical sample recruited from online forums, whereby BPD traits were measured via self-report. Study 2 (N = 64 couples) consisted of mixed-gender romantic couples in which the woman had a BPD diagnosis, as well as a control group of couples. In both studies, participants’ verbal behaviours were analysed to calculate their active EVs.

Results
Results from both studies revealed BPD to be associated with larger negative EV (i.e., using a broad variation of unique negative emotion words), which remained robust when controlling for general vocabulary size and negative affect word frequency in Study 2. The association between BPD and negative EV was insensitive to context.

Limitations
Limitations of this research include: 1) the absence of a clinical control group; 2) typical constraints surrounding word-counting approaches; and 3) the cross-sectional design (causality cannot be inferred).

Conclusions
Our findings contribute to BPD theory as well as the broader language and emotion literature. Importantly, these findings provide new insight into how individuals manifesting BPD attend to and represent their emotional experiences, which could be used to inform clinical practice.

Abstract

Background
Emotion dysregulation is a characteristic central to borderline personality disorder (BPD). Valuably, verbal behaviour can provide a unique perspective for studying emotion dysregulation in BPD, with recent research suggesting that the varieties of emotion words one actively uses (i.e., active emotion vocabularies [EVs]) reflect habitual experience and potential dysregulation therein. Accordingly, the present research examined associations between BPD and active EVs across two studies.

Methods
Study 1 (N = 530) comprised a large non-clinical sample recruited from online forums, whereby BPD traits were measured via self-report. Study 2 (N = 64 couples) consisted of mixed-gender romantic couples in which the woman had a BPD diagnosis, as well as a control group of couples. In both studies, participants’ verbal behaviours were analysed to calculate their active EVs.

Results
Results from both studies revealed BPD to be associated with larger negative EV (i.e., using a broad variation of unique negative emotion words), which remained robust when controlling for general vocabulary size and negative affect word frequency in Study 2. The association between BPD and negative EV was insensitive to context.

Limitations
Limitations of this research include: 1) the absence of a clinical control group; 2) typical constraints surrounding word-counting approaches; and 3) the cross-sectional design (causality cannot be inferred).

Conclusions
Our findings contribute to BPD theory as well as the broader language and emotion literature. Importantly, these findings provide new insight into how individuals manifesting BPD attend to and represent their emotional experiences, which could be used to inform clinical practice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Special Collections > Centers of Competence > Healthy Longevity Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Clinical Psychology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Borderline personality disorder; Personality pathology; Emotion dysregulation; Emotion processes; Language analysis; Emotion vocabularies
Language:English
Date:1 December 2023
Deposited On:27 Nov 2023 10:51
Last Modified:31 Mar 2024 03:37
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2666-9153
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadr.2023.100647
Related URLs:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666915323001853 (Publisher)
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID892379
  • : Project TitleCONCEPT FIT - Emotional fit within and between cultural contexts: Analyzing natural language to describe and compare the conceptual system for emotions
  • : FunderDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderH2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)