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J Pers Disord. 2015 Dec;29(6):839-46. doi: 10.1521/pedi_2015_29_181. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Attributional "Tunnel Vision" in Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Asklepios Clinic Nord-Wandsbek, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.


We aimed to examine the profile of interpersonal attributions in BPD. We hypothesized that patients show more mono-causal and internal attributions than healthy controls. A revised version of the Internal, Personal, Situational and Attributions Questionnaire was assessed in 30 BPD patients and 30 healthy controls. BPD patients and controls differed significantly in their attributional pattern. Patients displayed more mono-causal inferences, that is, they had difficulties considering alternative explanatory factors. For negative events, patients made more internal attributions compared to healthy controls. We concluded that mono-causal "trapped" thinking might contribute to (interpersonal) problems in BPD patients by fostering impulsive consequential behaviors, for example, harming one's self or others. A self-blaming tendency likely promotes depressive symptoms and low self-esteem.

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