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Impairments of Social Cognition in Borderline Personality Disorder as an Important Target of Psychotherapy

K.E. Beniashvili1, A.B. Kholmogorova1,2
1Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia
2Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, Branch of Federal Medical Research Center of Psychiatry and Narcology of Health Ministry of Russia, Moscow, Russia

SUMMARY: The article provides a brief overview of modern research on the impairments of social cognition in borderline personality disorder (BPD), as well as the data from a comparative empirical study of impairments of social cognition in patients with BPD and in a population-based sample. It discusses the particular characteristics of impairments of social cognition in BPD and the consequent targets of psychotherapy.

Objective and methods. A total of 87 people was examined, including 37 patients diagnosed with ICD-10: F 60.31 ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder, borderline type’, and 50 people from a population-based sample, by virtue of three methods complex: The Personality beliefs questionnaire in borderline personality disorder (PBQ-BPD), the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test (Eyes test), and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) scale.

Results. The study revealed that, although the number of errors made while identifying the mental state of a person in the eyes does not differ in clinical and population-based samples, the type of errors in patients with BPD has certain particular characteristics: they are more prone to negative interpretations. It is demonstrated that patients with BPD assess themselves as more inclined to show empathic care and prone to a higher level of distress when facing situations where other people experience strong negative emotions. The revealed links between the features of the BPD and the indicators of empathy enable us to make assumptions about the mechanism of its impairments.

Conclusions. The conclusion is made that the targeted psychotherapy with negative interpretations is required for patients with BPD, as well as a decrease in the general stress level during the communication process.

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