Anger, preoccupied attachment, and domain disorganization in borderline personality disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Jennifer Q. Morse
  • Jonathan Hill
  • Paul A. Pilkonis
  • Kirsten Yaggi
  • Nichaela Broyden
  • And 3 others
  • External authors:
  • Stephanie Stepp
  • Lawrence Ian Reed
  • Ulrike Feske


Emotional dysregulation and attachment insecurity have been reported in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Domain disorganization, evidenced in poor regulation of emotions and behaviors in relation to the demands of different social domains, may be a distinguishing feature of BPD. Understanding the interplay between these factors may be critical for identifying interacting processes in BPD and potential subtypes of BPD. Therefore, we examined the joint and interactive effects of anger, preoccupied attachment, and domain disorganization on BPD traits in a clinical sample of 128 psychiatric patients. The results suggest that these factors contribute to BPD both independently and in interaction, even when controlling for other personality disorder traits and Axis I symptoms. In regression analyses, the interaction between anger and domain disorganization predicted BPD traits. In recursive partitioning analyses, two possible paths to BPD were identified: high anger combined with high domain disorganization and low anger combined with preoccupied attachment. These results may suggest possible subtypes of BPD or possible mechanisms by which BPD traits are established and maintained. © 2009 The Guilford Press.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-257
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009