The primary goal of this research was to examine whether borderline personality (BP) features moderate the effect of social rejection on impulsive behaviours. Previous research suggests that individuals with BPD report greater impulsiveness than nonpsychiatric controls and that following a fear induction, university students high in BP features engage in more impulsive responding than low BP individuals. In the present study, 77 individuals from a mixed community and undergraduate sample were randomly assigned to either listen to and visualize a social rejection scenario, or to sit through a neutral emotion induction. Impulsive responding was then measured in a passive avoidance learning task. Against prediction, BP features failed to moderate the relationship between assigned condition and the frequency of impulsive responses. This suggests that social rejection operates distinctly from other forms of negative emotional experience (e.g., fear) that have been shown to elicit more impulsive responding in individuals high in BP features.
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Thesis advisor: Chapman, Alexander
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