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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social role dysfunction and coping in borderline personality disorder Carlson, Emma M.


Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) often experience deficits in social role performance, which encompasses the ability to adhere to socially defined rules and norms of behaviour. Additionally, research suggests that coping styles influence the way individuals with BPD manage stress, and that overall symptom severity and functioning in individuals with BPD varies across genders. This study sought to explore these variables via moderated mediation, investigating the mediating influence of coping styles on the relationship between BPD symptoms and social role dysfunction, and if these association were further moderated by gender. Participants (N = 233) were outpatients attending an intensive group treatment program who completed self-report measures on personality dysfunction, coping styles, and social role functioning. A moderated mediation model shows that for women with high BPD symptoms, usage of emotion-oriented coping was associated with increased social role dysfunction. Interestingly, also for women with high BPD symptoms, decreased use of social diversion-oriented coping was associated with increased social role dysfunction. No significant associations were found between coping and social role dysfunction among men. Findings suggest that social support seeking and a healthy social network may play an important part in the ongoing social development of women with BPD. From this, potential early therapeutic interventions targeting safe social engagement in times of stress may decrease the pervasive and persistent nature of social dysfunction in BPD.

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