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J Abnorm Psychol. 1992 Feb;101(1):61-7.

Malevolent object representations in borderline personality disorder and major depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan.


To study malevolent representations, earliest memories were reliably coded on scales of affect tone. Ss were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder: 31 without and 30 with concurrent major depression. Nonborderline comparison subjects had either major depressive disorder (n = 26) or no psychiatric diagnosis (n = 30). Borderline subjects were discriminated from comparison subjects by their more malevolent representations; they more frequently produced memories involving deliberate injury; and they portrayed potential helpers as less helpful. Results suggest the diagnostic significance of malevolent representations, which need to be explained by any theory of borderline personality disorder.

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