Facial expression recognition ability among women with borderline personality disorder: implications for emotion regulation?

J Pers Disord. 1999 Winter;13(4):329-44. doi: 10.1521/pedi.1999.13.4.329.


This study examined recognition of facial expressions of emotion among women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD; n = 21), compared to a group of women with histories of childhood sexual abuse with no current or prior diagnosis of BPD (n = 21) and a group of women with no history of sexual abuse or BPD (n = 20). Facial recognition was assessed by a slide set developed by Ekman and Matsumoto (Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion and Neutral Faces, 1992), expanded and improved from previous slide sets, and utilized a coding system that allowed for free responses rather than the more typical fixed-response format. Results indicated that borderline individuals were primarily accurate perceivers of others' emotions and showed a tendency toward heightened sensitivity on recognition of fear, specifically. Results are discussed in terms of emotional appraisal ability and emotion dysregulation among individuals with BPD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / complications
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Emotions*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Perception*