Maternal borderline personality disorder symptoms and convergence between observed and reported infant negative emotional expressions

Diana J. Whalen, Elizabeth J. Kiel, Matthew T. Tull, Robert D. Latzman, Kim L. Gratz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

To date, the influence of maternal borderline personality disorder (BPD) on perceptions of infants' emotional expressions has not been examined. This study investigated the relation of maternal BPD symptoms to discrepancies between mother-reported and observed infant expressions of fear and anger. Emotional expressions in response to fear- and anger-eliciting stimuli were observed among 101 12- to 23-month-old infants of mothers with a range of BPD symptoms. Mothers also reported on their infants' past-month fear and anger expressions. Findings from polynomial regression analyses revealed that maternal BPD symptoms (particularly BPD interpersonal symptoms) are associated with greater convergence of mother-reported and observed infant anger expressions. Furthermore, although maternal BPD symptoms were not related to discrepancies between mother-reported and observed infant fear, findings did reveal a relation between maternal BPD symptoms and observed infant fear expressions, such that maternal BPD symptoms related to both low and high (vs. moderate) levels of fear expressions in the laboratory. Moreover, BPD behavioral symptoms in particular were associated with greater convergence of mother-reported and observed infant fear expressions. Overall, findings contribute to the literature on the impact of maternal BPD on parenting and infant outcomes, and highlight the relevance of maternal BPD symptoms to discrepancies between perceived and observed infant negative emotional expressions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Keywords

  • behavioral observations
  • borderline personality disorder
  • infant emotional expressions
  • mothers
  • parent ratings

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