Neue Publikation: Self-Concept Structure and Borderline Personality Disorder

Im “Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry” erscheint der Beitrag Self-Concept Structure and Borderline Personality Disorder:

Evidence for Negative Compartmentalization


Dr. Aline Vater (Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin )

Prof. Dr. Michela Schröder-Abé (TU Darmstadt)

Dipl. Psych. Susan Weißgerber (Helios Klinikum Aue)

Dr. Stefan Roepke (Cluster of Excellence – Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität Berlin)

und Prof. Dr. Astrid Schütz (Universität Bamberg)



Background and Objectives. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by an unstable and incongruent self-concept. However, there is a dearth of empirical studies investigating self-concept in BPD. In order to bridge this research gap, the purpose of this study was to apply an in-depth analysis of structural aspects of the self-concept in BPD. Methods. We examined the degree of compartmentalization, i.e., a tendency to organize knowledge about the self into discrete, extremely valenced (i.e., either positive or negative) categories (Showers, 1992).

Results. We hypothesized and found that BPD patients had the most compartmentalized self-concept structure and a higher proportion of negative self-attributes relative to both a non-clinical and a depressed control group. Moreover, BPD patients rated negative self-aspects as more important than positive ones relative to non-clinical controls.

Limitations. We cannot determine whether causal relationships exist between psychological symptoms and self-concept structure. Moreover, further comparisons to patients with other psychiatric disorders are necessary in order to further confirm the clinical specificity of our results.

Conclusions. Our findings indicate that a negative compartmentalized self-concept is a specific feature of BPD. Implications for future research, psychological assessment, and psychotherapeutic treatment are discussed.