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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Interpersonal problems and social adjustment : comparing avoidant and borderline personality disorder symptoms McCloskey, Katharine D.


Interpersonal problems are one of the most persistent difficulties facing those with personality disorders (PDs) and are linked with dysfunction across numerous social domains. Researchers have explored the associations between PDs, interpersonal problems, and social dysfunction; however, there is limited understanding of which interpersonal problems mediate the link between PDs and social dysfunction. Using an interpersonal model of PDs, we examined which interpersonal problems mediated the association between PD symptoms and social dysfunction in adults with avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms. Participants were 226 adults experiencing personality dysfunction who were taking part in the Day Treatment Program at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Canada. Using cross-sectional data from self-reported measures, we found that cold (b = .10, 95% CI [.038, .176]) and overly nurturant (b = .04, 95% CI [.001, .090]) interpersonal problems mediated the link between AvPD symptoms and social dysfunction. The only significant mediator in the link between BPD symptoms and social dysfunction was overly nurturant (b = .05, 95% CI [.001, .120]). The results from our study may aid in the development of more individualized treatments for those struggling with AvPD and BPD so as to improve social functioning as well as other clinical outcomes.

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