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Attach Hum Dev. 2003 Mar;5(1):64-77.

Developmental protective and risk factors in borderline personality disorder: a study using the Adult Attachment Interview.

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  • 1Psychology Department, University of Pavia, Italy.


Mental representations and attachment in a sample of adults with Borderline Personality Disorder were assessed using the George, Kaplan and Main (1985) Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Eighty subjects participated in the study: 40 nonclinical and 40 with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The results obtained showed a specific distribution of attachment patterns in the clinical sample: free/autonomous subjects (F) represented only 7%, dismissing classifications (Ds) reached about 20%, entangled/preoccupied (E) 23% and unresolved with traumatic experiences (U) 50%. The two samples differed in their attachment patterns distribution by two (secure vs. insecure status), three (F, Ds and E) and four-way (F, Ds, E and U) categories comparisons. In order to identify more specific protective or risk factors of BPD, 25 one-way ANOVAs with clinical status as variable (clinical vs. nonclinical) were conducted on each scale of the coding system of the interview. Results support the hypothesis that some developmental relational experiences seem to constitute pivotal risk factors underlying this disorder. Results demonstrated potential benefits in using AAI scales in addition to the traditional categories. Implications for research and treatment are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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