13 February 2017
Theories of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) suggest that interpersonal problems in BPD act as triggers for negative affect and, at the same time, are a possible result of affective dysregulation. Therefore, we assessed the relations between momentary negative affect (hostility, sadness, fear) and interpersonal problems (rejection, disagreement) in a sample of 80 BPD and 51 depressed outpatients at 6 time-points over 28 days. Data were analyzed using multivariate multi-level modeling to separate momentary-, day-, and person-level effects. Results revealed a mutually reinforcing relationship between disagreement and hostility, rejection and hostility, and between rejection and sadness in both groups, at the momentary and day level. The mutual reinforcement between hostility and rejection/disagreement was significantly stronger in the BPD group. Moreover, the link between rejection and sadness was present at all three levels of analysis for the BPD group, while it was localized to the momentary level in the depressed group.