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The relationship between emotions, social problem solving, and borderline personality features

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(Thesis) M.A.
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People suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) demonstrate poor social problem-solving (SPS) performance. There is an absence of research, however, examining mechanisms driving SPS deficits among persons with BPD. In the present study, SPS performance of undergraduates with High (n = 26), Mid (n = 32), or Low (n = 29) levels of BPD features was assessed at baseline with the Social Problem Solving Inventory-Revised (SPSI-R), and the means-ends problem-solving (MEPS) procedure before and after a negative emotion induction. The High-BPD group demonstrated deficits at baseline on the SPSI-R, and larger decrements in relevant means on the MEPS following the emotion induction, than the Low-BPD group. Increased negative emotions during the emotion induction partially mediated the relationship between BPD features and decreased SPS performance. These findings suggest that the SPS difficulties associated with BPD may be attributable to the intensity of negative emotions experienced by persons with heightened BPD features.
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