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Panminerva Medica 2012 December;54(4):283-92

language: English

The borderline personality organization in a dimensional perspective: the TCI and SWAP-200 in comparison

Amianto F. 1, Laguzzi S. 2, Sobrero C. 1, Marzola E. 1, Abbate Daga G. 1, Fassino S. 1

1 Neurosciences Department, Psychiatry Section, University of Turin, Turin, Italy;
2 Psychiatry Department, ASL TO-10, Pinerolo, Turin, Italy


AIM: The categorical assessment of personality disorders, in particular of the borderline personality disorder is being debated by most authors. This study focuses on the structural organization of personality, namely on Kernberg’s borderline personality organization (BPO). It aims to explore the dimensional personality assessment and to test the convergence on this construct of two dimensional instruments: the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP-200).
METHODS: BPO was assessed with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP-200). Thirty-four BPO subjects were recruited in the study. TCI profiles of BPO subjects were compared with 34 non-BPO matched controls. TCI and SWAP-200 profiles were correlated with each other and with clinical data.
RESULTS: BPO subjects showed higher harm avoidance and lower self-directedness (TCI). The SWAP-200 evidenced a schizotypal configuration (categorical classification) and histrionic and schizoid traits (Q-sort classification).
CONCLUSION: The instruments displayed limited correlation. Instead they both extensively correlated with clinical history of BPO subjects. Implications for BPO assessment and its relationship with mental disorders are discussed. The knowledge of the BPO dimensional characteristics will improve clinical management and therapeutic strategies for BPO patients. Moreover the comparison of two dimensional instruments on the construct of BPO may shed a light on their strengths and weaknesses.

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