Affective instability and impulsivity in borderline personality and bipolar II disorders: Similarities and differences

Chantal Henry, Vivian Mitropoulou, Antonia S. New, Harold W. Koenigsberg, Jeremy Silverman, Larry J. Siever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

339 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: many studies have reported a high degree of comorbidity between mood disorders, among which are bipolar disorders, and borderline personality disorder and some studies have suggested that these disorders are co-transmitted in families. However, few studies have compared personality traits between these disorders to determine whether there is a dimensional overlap between the two diagnoses. The aim of this study was to compare impulsivity, affective lability and intensity in patients with borderline personality and bipolar II disorder and in subjects with neither of these diagnoses. Methods: patients with borderline personality but without bipolar disorder (n=29), patients with bipolar II disorder without borderline personality but with other personality disorders (n=14), patients with both borderline personality and bipolar II disorder (n=12), and patients with neither borderline personality nor bipolar disorder but other personality disorders (OPD; n=93) were assessed using the Affective Lability Scale (ALS), the Affect Intensity Measure (AIM), the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI) and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-7B). Results: borderline personality patients had significantly higher ALS total scores (P <0.05) and bipolar II patients tended to have higher ALS scores than patients with OPD (P <0.06). On one of the ALS subscales, the borderline patients displayed significant higher affective lability between euthymia and anger (P <0.002), whereas patients with bipolar II disorder displayed affective lability between euthymia and depression (P <0.04), or elation (P <0.01) or between depression and elation (P <0.01). A significant interaction between borderline personality and bipolar II disorder was observed for lability between anxiety and depression (P <0.01) with the ALS. High scores for impulsiveness (BISTOT, P <0.001) and hostility (BDHI, P <0.05) were obtained for borderline personality patients only and no significant interactions between diagnoses were observed. Only borderline personality patients tended to have higher affective intensity (AIM, P <0.07). Conclusions: borderline personality disorder and bipolar II disorder appear to involve affective lability, which may account for the efficacy of mood stabilizers treatments in both disorders. However, our results suggest that borderline personality disorder cannot be viewed as an attenuated group of affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affective Intensity
  • Affective instability
  • Aggression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Impulsiveness

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Affective instability and impulsivity in borderline personality and bipolar II disorders: Similarities and differences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this