Borderline disorder and attachment pathology.
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In this paper, the authors investigate the theoretical and empirical association between dysfunctions of the attachment system and borderline personality disorder. Attachment theory focuses on the maintenance of a sense of safety and security through a close personal relationship with a particular person. Based on a biological behavioural system, functional attachment relationships in adulthood rely on experiences and expectations of security within the relationship. These issues are also important to the definition and dynamics of borderline personality disorder. The dimensions and patterns of reciprocal attachment were compared with other scales measuring components of psychopathology and interpersonal relationships. In a sample of 85 female outpatients, only four of the attachment scales--feared loss, secure base, compulsive care-seeking and angry withdrawal--identified patients with high scores on a measure of borderline disorder. Of these four scales, feared loss had the predominant effect. These empirical results support the hypothesized relationship between dysfunctions of the attachment system and borderline disorder.
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