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J Pers Disord. 2013 Apr;27(2):125-43. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2013.27.2.125.

Clarifying interpersonal heterogeneity in borderline personality disorder using latent mixture modeling.

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Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA 15213, USA.


Significant interpersonal impairment is a cardinal feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, past research has demonstrated that the interpersonal profile associated with BPD varies across samples, which is evidence for considerable interpersonal heterogeneity. The current study used inventory of interpersonal problems-circumplex (IIP-C; Alden, Wiggins, & Pincus, 1990) scale scores to investigate interpersonal inhibitions and excesses in a large sample (N = 255) selected for significant borderline pathology. Results indicated that BPD symptom counts were unrelated to the primary dimensions of the IIPC, but were related to generalized interpersonal distress. A latent class analysis clarified this finding by revealing six homogeneous interpersonal classes with prototypical profiles associated with Intrusive, Vindictive, Avoidant, Nonassertive, and moderate and severe Exploitable interpersonal problems. These classes differed in clinically relevant features (e.g., antisocial behaviors, self-injury, past suicide attempts). Findings are discussed in terms of the incremental clinical utility of the interpersonal circumplex model and the implications for developmental and nosological models of BPD.

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