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Comparable emotional dynamics in women with ADHD and borderline personality disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Talar R. Moukhtarian, Iris Reinhard, Paul Moran, Celine Ryckaert, Caroline Skirrow, Ulrich Ebner-Priemer, Philip Asherson

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalBorderline personality disorder and emotion dysregulation
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
PublishedDec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported by King’s College London Professor Asherson’s departmental research fund. Philip Asherson is supported by NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, NIHR/MRC (14/23/17) and NIHR senior investigator award (NF-SI-0616-10040). The NIHR had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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Abstract

Background: Emotional dysregulation (ED) is a core diagnostic symptom in borderline personality disorder (BPD) and an associated feature of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We aimed to investigate differences in dynamical indices of ED in daily life in ADHD and BPD. Methods: We used experience sampling method (ESM) and multilevel modelling to assess momentary changes in reports of affective symptoms, and retrospective questionnaire measures of ED in a sample of 98 adult females with ADHD, BPD, comorbid ADHD+BPD and healthy controls. Results: We found marked differences between the clinical groups and healthy controls. However, the ESM assessments did not show differences in the intensity of feeling angry and irritable, and the instability of feeling sad, irritable and angry, findings paralleled by data from retrospective questionnaires. The heightened intensity in negative emotions in the clinical groups compared to controls was only partially explained by bad events at the time of reporting negative emotions, suggesting both reactive and endogenous influences on ED in both ADHD and BPD. Conclusions: This study supports the view that ED is a valuable trans-diagnostic aspect of psychopathology in both ADHD and BPD, with similar levels of intensity and instability. These findings suggest that the presence or severity of ED should not be used in clinical practice to distinguish between the two disorders.

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