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Patients suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) are at elevated risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs), but this well-described and clinically important association is not well-understood. Prior research suggests that STBs often function as an attempt to escape aversive affect, and that people with BPD experience stronger emotion reactivity and greater discomfort with emotion than those without BPD. Here, we tested whether negative affective states are more likely to predict suicidal thoughts among those with BPD than those without this disorder. Data on affective states and suicidal thoughts were collected several times per day from 35 psychiatric inpatients using their smartphones to capture real-time associations between negative affect and suicidal thoughts. Results revealed that the association between negative affective states (e.g., abandonment, desperation, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, rage, self-hatred, and upset), and severity of suicidal thinking was stronger among those with BPD than among those without BPD. This finding has implications for risk assessment and intervention in the clinical setting: for a given degree of reported negative affect, patients with BPD experience more suicidal ideation than those without. Further research needs to be done to elucidate the mechanism of this effect.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of psychiatric research
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A personality disorder in which there are oddities of thought (magical thinking, paranoid ideation, suspiciousness), perception (illusions, depersonalization), speech (digressive, vague, overelaborate), and behavior (inappropriate affect in social interactions, frequently social isolation) that are not severe enough to characterize schizophrenia.
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