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Psychiatry Res. 1997 May 30;70(3):175-83.

Pain assessment in self-injurious patients with borderline personality disorder using signal detection theory.

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New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, White Plains 10605, USA.


Signal detection theory measures of thermal responsivity were examined to determine whether differences in reported pain experienced during self-injurious behavior in female patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are explained by neurosensory factors and/or attitudinal factors (response bias). Female patients with BPD who do not experience pain during self-injury (BPD-NP group) were found to discriminate more poorly between noxious thermal stimuli of similar intensity, low P(A), than female patients with BPD who experience pain during self-injury (BPD-P group), female patients with BPD who do not have a history of self-injury (BPD-C group), and age-matched normal women. The BPD-NP group also had a higher response criterion, B (more stoical) than the BPD-C group. These findings suggest that 'analgesia' during self-injury in patients with BPD is related to both neurosensory and attitudinal/psychological abnormalities.

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