Social Navigation in Individuals with Borderline and Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms
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Social dysfunction is a critical feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and avoidant personality disorder (AvPD). The goal of this study was to investigate social deficits associated with these disorders using a naturalistic role-playing task where participants interact with fictional characters to accomplish social goals. Given the literature on social dysfunction in these disorders, the hypothesis was that people with BPD symptoms and people with AvPD symptoms will perform differently on the social-navigation task than healthy people. Data from a large and heterogeneous online sample of 460 participants was collected. Sample-wide AvPD-IS scores were negatively associated with the tendency to make decisions that give others power (r = -.11, p < .05), as well as the tendency to affiliate with others (r = -.12, p < .01). Additionally, the AvPD group (n = 41) showed a lower tendency to affiliate with others compared to healthy controls (n = 36; t(75) = -2.91, p = < .01). There were no significant differences between the BPD group (n = 31) and healthy controls. Future analyses of this data such as utilizing a classification approach may help reveal group differences, and further studies examining these patterns in clinical samples should be undertaken.
Senior honors thesis / Open Access
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