[Attentional bias and emotional suppression in borderline personality disorder].

Research paper by Silvia Carvalho SC Fernando, Julia J Griepenstroh, Sabine S Urban, Martin M Driessen, Thomas T Beblo

Indexed on: 20 Jul '14Published on: 20 Jul '14Published in: neuropsychiatrie


Emotion regulation dysfunctions marked by negative affectivity are a core feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD). In addition, patients with BPD show disturbed attentional processes which become particularly apparent in the domain of selective attention when emotional stimuli are presented (negative attentional bias). Assuming that emotion regulation is linked to attentional deployment processes, this study aimed (1) to determine whether a negative attentional bias is established by using film clips of fearful faces and (2) to investigate the association between dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies (emotional suppression) and negative attention bias in BPD.We investigated 18 inpatients with BPD and 18 healthy control participants using the modified version of the fearful face-paradigm to assess the inhibition of emotional stimuli. We also administered self-report emotion regulation questionnaires.Compared to the healthy controls, patients with BPD showed significant longer reaction times during the emotional versus the neutral film stimuli in the modified fearful face-paradigm. With regard to the second hypothesis, we failed to find an association between the negative attentional bias and the habitual use of emotional suppression in BPD.In this study, we could confirm an attentional bias for negative stimuli, using complex, dynamic material. Future studies need to address the impact of confounding variables (e. g. comorbid disorders) on the relationship between maladaptive emotion regulation and selective attentional bias.