Patients with borderline personality disorder and comorbid PTSD show biased attention for threat in the facial dot-probe task

Deborah Kaiser, Gitta A Jacob, Linda van Zutphen, Nicolette Siep, Andreas Sprenger, Brunna Tuschen-Caffier, Alena Senft, Arnoud Arntz, Gregor Domes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Biased attention to threat is likely to play a crucial role in the dysfunctional emotion-related information processing in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the role of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not yet been fully disentangled.

METHODS: BPD patients with (n = 24) and without (n = 46) PTSD, 35 patients with Cluster-C personality disorder and 52 non-patients participated in the facial dot-probe task with angry, happy and neutral faces during automatic (100 ms), controlled (600 ms), and later (1200 ms) stages of information processing.

RESULTS: BPD patients showed a greater congruency effect to angry faces during the controlled stage of processing than controls. Specifically, in BPD with PTSD compared to controls, this effect was due to difficulties disengaging from threat, indicated by slower reaction times to incongruent angry targets compared to neutral trials. Regarding automatic and later stages of information processing, there was no attentional bias (AB) in BPD. None of the groups revealed biased attention for happy faces at any stages of information processing.

LIMITATIONS: We did not include a control group of PTSD patients without BPD. Therefore, we cannot rule out that the present AB in BPD is mainly due to PTSD-specific psychopathology.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide first evidence for an AB towards angry faces and difficulties disengaging from these threat-related social cues in adult BPD patients. Although BPD patients in general demonstrated an AB when compared with controls, this effect was especially pronounced for BPD with PTSD, suggesting a significant effect of trauma-related psychopathology on social attention in BPD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2018

Cite this

Kaiser, Deborah ; Jacob, Gitta A ; van Zutphen, Linda ; Siep, Nicolette ; Sprenger, Andreas ; Tuschen-Caffier, Brunna ; Senft, Alena ; Arntz, Arnoud ; Domes, Gregor. / Patients with borderline personality disorder and comorbid PTSD show biased attention for threat in the facial dot-probe task. In: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 2018.
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title = "Patients with borderline personality disorder and comorbid PTSD show biased attention for threat in the facial dot-probe task",
abstract = "BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Biased attention to threat is likely to play a crucial role in the dysfunctional emotion-related information processing in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the role of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not yet been fully disentangled.METHODS: BPD patients with (n = 24) and without (n = 46) PTSD, 35 patients with Cluster-C personality disorder and 52 non-patients participated in the facial dot-probe task with angry, happy and neutral faces during automatic (100 ms), controlled (600 ms), and later (1200 ms) stages of information processing.RESULTS: BPD patients showed a greater congruency effect to angry faces during the controlled stage of processing than controls. Specifically, in BPD with PTSD compared to controls, this effect was due to difficulties disengaging from threat, indicated by slower reaction times to incongruent angry targets compared to neutral trials. Regarding automatic and later stages of information processing, there was no attentional bias (AB) in BPD. None of the groups revealed biased attention for happy faces at any stages of information processing.LIMITATIONS: We did not include a control group of PTSD patients without BPD. Therefore, we cannot rule out that the present AB in BPD is mainly due to PTSD-specific psychopathology.CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide first evidence for an AB towards angry faces and difficulties disengaging from these threat-related social cues in adult BPD patients. Although BPD patients in general demonstrated an AB when compared with controls, this effect was especially pronounced for BPD with PTSD, suggesting a significant effect of trauma-related psychopathology on social attention in BPD.",
author = "Deborah Kaiser and Jacob, {Gitta A} and {van Zutphen}, Linda and Nicolette Siep and Andreas Sprenger and Brunna Tuschen-Caffier and Alena Senft and Arnoud Arntz and Gregor Domes",
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doi = "10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.11.005",
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Patients with borderline personality disorder and comorbid PTSD show biased attention for threat in the facial dot-probe task. / Kaiser, Deborah; Jacob, Gitta A; van Zutphen, Linda; Siep, Nicolette; Sprenger, Andreas; Tuschen-Caffier, Brunna; Senft, Alena; Arntz, Arnoud; Domes, Gregor.

In: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 26.11.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Patients with borderline personality disorder and comorbid PTSD show biased attention for threat in the facial dot-probe task

AU - Kaiser, Deborah

AU - Jacob, Gitta A

AU - van Zutphen, Linda

AU - Siep, Nicolette

AU - Sprenger, Andreas

AU - Tuschen-Caffier, Brunna

AU - Senft, Alena

AU - Arntz, Arnoud

AU - Domes, Gregor

N1 - Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PY - 2018/11/26

Y1 - 2018/11/26

N2 - BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Biased attention to threat is likely to play a crucial role in the dysfunctional emotion-related information processing in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the role of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not yet been fully disentangled.METHODS: BPD patients with (n = 24) and without (n = 46) PTSD, 35 patients with Cluster-C personality disorder and 52 non-patients participated in the facial dot-probe task with angry, happy and neutral faces during automatic (100 ms), controlled (600 ms), and later (1200 ms) stages of information processing.RESULTS: BPD patients showed a greater congruency effect to angry faces during the controlled stage of processing than controls. Specifically, in BPD with PTSD compared to controls, this effect was due to difficulties disengaging from threat, indicated by slower reaction times to incongruent angry targets compared to neutral trials. Regarding automatic and later stages of information processing, there was no attentional bias (AB) in BPD. None of the groups revealed biased attention for happy faces at any stages of information processing.LIMITATIONS: We did not include a control group of PTSD patients without BPD. Therefore, we cannot rule out that the present AB in BPD is mainly due to PTSD-specific psychopathology.CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide first evidence for an AB towards angry faces and difficulties disengaging from these threat-related social cues in adult BPD patients. Although BPD patients in general demonstrated an AB when compared with controls, this effect was especially pronounced for BPD with PTSD, suggesting a significant effect of trauma-related psychopathology on social attention in BPD.

AB - BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Biased attention to threat is likely to play a crucial role in the dysfunctional emotion-related information processing in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the role of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not yet been fully disentangled.METHODS: BPD patients with (n = 24) and without (n = 46) PTSD, 35 patients with Cluster-C personality disorder and 52 non-patients participated in the facial dot-probe task with angry, happy and neutral faces during automatic (100 ms), controlled (600 ms), and later (1200 ms) stages of information processing.RESULTS: BPD patients showed a greater congruency effect to angry faces during the controlled stage of processing than controls. Specifically, in BPD with PTSD compared to controls, this effect was due to difficulties disengaging from threat, indicated by slower reaction times to incongruent angry targets compared to neutral trials. Regarding automatic and later stages of information processing, there was no attentional bias (AB) in BPD. None of the groups revealed biased attention for happy faces at any stages of information processing.LIMITATIONS: We did not include a control group of PTSD patients without BPD. Therefore, we cannot rule out that the present AB in BPD is mainly due to PTSD-specific psychopathology.CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide first evidence for an AB towards angry faces and difficulties disengaging from these threat-related social cues in adult BPD patients. Although BPD patients in general demonstrated an AB when compared with controls, this effect was especially pronounced for BPD with PTSD, suggesting a significant effect of trauma-related psychopathology on social attention in BPD.

U2 - 10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.11.005

DO - 10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.11.005

M3 - Article

C2 - 30563688

JO - Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry

JF - Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry

SN - 0005-7916

ER -