The Relationship between Affect Integration and Psychopathology in Patients with Personality Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Abstract

Background and Objectives: Emotional dysfunction is considered a key component in personality disorders; however, only few studies have examined the relationship between the two. In this study, emotional dysfunction was operationalized through the Affect Integration Inventory, and the aim was to examine the relationships between the level of affect integration and the levels of symptom distress, interpersonal problems, and personality functioning in patients diagnosed with personality disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition. Materials and Methods: Within a hospital-based psychiatric outpatient setting, 87 patients with personality disorder referred for treatment were identified for assessment with the Affect Integration Inventory and other measures (e.g., the Symptom Checklist-90, Revised, the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems 64 circumplex version, and the Severity Indices of Personality Problems). Results: The analyses revealed that problems with affect integration were strongly and statistically significantly correlated with high levels of symptom distress, interpersonal problems, and maladaptive personality functioning. Additionally, low scores on the Affect Integration Inventory regarding discrete affects were associated with distinct and differentiated patterns of interpersonal problems. Conclusion: Taken together, emotional dysfunction, as measured by the Affect Integration Inventory, appeared to be a central component of the pathological self-organization associated with personality disorder. These findings have several implications for the understanding and psychotherapeutic treatment of personality pathology. Furthermore, they highlight the importance of considering the integration of discrete affects and their specific contributions in the conceptualization and treatment of emotional dysfunction in patients with personality disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number627
JournalMedicina
Volume57
Issue number6
ISSN1010-660X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • affect integration
  • personality disorders
  • psychopathology
  • Affect Integration Inventory
  • emotional dysfunction

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