Autobiographical memory specificity and non-suicidal self-injury in borderline personality disorder
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Journal of experimental psychopathology
, p. 398-410
It has been suggested that patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) use a variety of maladaptive affect-regulation strategies, including non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Another, cognitive manner considered to regulate negative affect, is overgeneral memory (OGM). OGM refers to the tendency to recall categories of events, rather than specific episodes. OGM is frequently observed in depressed and traumatised patients. Contrary to the expectations, patients with BPD only inconsistently show OGM. This study investigated how NSSI and OGM relate to each other in BPD patients. Based on earlier findings (Startup et al., 2001), we hypothesized that NSSI and OGM would be inversely related. Fifty three BPD patients completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders, the Autobiographical Memory Test to assess OGM, and the Self-Injury Questionnaire Treatment Related (SIQ-TR) to assess NSSI. We found no significant differences in OGM between patients with and without NSSI. However, we found that participants who used more NSSI methods showed less OGM, but this association disappeared when we controlled for age. We propose a balance-model of affect-regulation as one possible explanation for the negative relationship between these two affect-regulation strategies.