What's in a (Neutral) Face? Personality Disorders, Attachment Styles, and the Appraisal of Ambiguous Social Cues

The University of Surrey Roehampton, Whitelands College, West Hill, London, UK.
Journal of Personality Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.31). 08/2004; 18(4):320-336. DOI: 10.1521/pedi.18.4.320.40344

ABSTRACT Attachment theory suggests that borderline, avoidant, and schizoid personality disorders are differentially associated with anxious and avoidant attachment styles. The variations of insecure attachment in these disorders, in turn, might influence how others are perceived or appraised. To test these ideas, 176 college students completed questionnaires measuring attachment styles and personality disorder features, and each rated 10 emotionally neutral faces on 18 bipolar appraisal dimensions. As expected, borderline personality was associated with anxious attachment, avoidant personality was associated with anxious and avoidant attachment, and schizoid personality was weakly associated only with avoidant attachment. Furthermore, path analyses showed that borderline and avoidant personality features were associated with anxious attachment, which in turn related to negative face appraisals (e.g., tendencies to rate faces as less friendly and more rejecting). Discussion highlights the potential of simultaneously studying biases in social information processing and attachment disturbances among individuals with personality disorders.

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Available from: Paul A Pilkonis, Jul 07, 2014
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    • "It was expected that, compared with the healthy control group, mothers with BPD would be significantly poorer at accurately recognizing the emotional displays of infants, and more specifically, would show a misattribution pattern with a tendency to more negatively interpret neutral facial expressions of infants. It was further expected that control mothers would show preferential attention for images of their own infant, measured by greater emotion-recognition accuracy, as compared with images of unknown infants, whereas mothers with BPD, who have been observed previously to have attachment-related disturbances (e.g., Choi-Kain et al., 2009; Fonagy et al., 2000; Levy et al., 2005; Meyer et al., 2004), would not show this differential pattern. "
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    Infant Mental Health Journal 01/2014; 35(1). DOI:10.1002/imhj.21426 · 0.61 Impact Factor
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    • "Likewise, care must be taken in the interpretation of self-report data, particularly where a screening questionnaire is used without the use of accompanying structured interview, as with this Self-esteem and other-esteem in college students with borderline and avoidant personality 16 study's use of the SCID-II SQ. Nonetheless, such procedures are not uncommon, and regularly provide clinically and theoretically meaningful results (e.g., Bowles & Meyer, 2008; Dreessen et al., 1999; Meyer et al., 2004; Trull, Useda, Conforti and Doan, 1997). "
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    Personality and Mental Health 11/2013; 7(4):307-19. DOI:10.1002/pmh.1230 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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    • "Surprisingly, many studies found superior capacities in BPD (e.g., Arntz, Bernstein, Oorschot, & Schobre, 2009; Fertuck et al., 2009; Frank & Hoffman, 1986; Franzen et al., 2011; Ladisich & Feil, 1988; Lynch et al., 2006; Wagner & Linehan, 1999). Others found no differences between BPD and nonpatients (Domes et al., 2008; Meyer, Pilkonis, & Beevers, 2004; Murphy, 2006). Still other studies found evidence for deficiencies (Bland, Williams, Scharer, & Manning, 2004; Hertel, Schütz, & Lammers, 2009; Levine, Marziali, & Hood, 1997; Sharp et al., 2011). "
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