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J Pers Disord. 2014 Aug 7:1-16. [Epub ahead of print]

Relationship Between Transitional Objects and Personality Disorders in Female Psychiatric Inpatients: A Prospective Study.


Patients often bring transitional objects (TO) to inpatient units. The authors quantified the frequency of TO possession in an inpatient psychiatric setting and assessed whether TO use is specific to a personality disorder (PD) diagnosis, focusing on borderline PD (BPD). TO possession was assessed using the Transitional Objects Questionnaire, and PD diagnosis was established using standard DSM-IV clinical interviews. Of the 104 female patients assessed, 57.7% showed TO use; 84% of BPD patients, 71% of BPD-trait patients, 65% of patients with PD traits (other than BPD), and 56% of PD patients (other than BPD) displayed TO use, whereas 30.6% of patients without PD showed TO use. Patients with TOs were significantly younger and had significantly longer hospital stays. The specificity and sensitivity for TO use in the BPD group were 0.506 and 0.84, respectively. The authors conclude that TO use is closely related to PD diagnosis, but is not specific to BPD.

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