Social networks in borderline personality disorder

J Pers Disord. 2007 Aug;21(4):434-41. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2007.21.4.434.


The interpersonal dysfunction that characterizes borderline personality disorder (BPD) has generally been studied using broad global measures, leading to a lack of precision. We report on a novel methodology using social network analysis (SNA) to quantify interactions with others in the patient's social world. We assessed the social networks of 22 clinical patients, diagnosed with either BPD (N = 11) or no personality disorder (No PD; N = 11). The social networks of patients with BPD contained a greater number of former romantic partners, and a greater number of relationships that had been terminated. Mixed model analyses found that the No PD group reported higher levels of positive relationships (e.g., trust, social support) with more central members of their social networks, whereas the BPD group did not discriminate among members of their networks. Results suggest deficits in social cognition for positive relations, but not for negative relations such as interpersonal conflict.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires