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Nonverbal Communication of Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder During Clinical Interviews: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study Using Intranasal Oxytocin

Brüne, Martin MD, PhD; Kolb, Meike MA; Ebert, Andreas MD; Roser, Patrik MD; Edel, Marc-Andreas MD

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: February 2015 - Volume 203 - Issue 2 - p 107–111
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000240
Original Articles

Abstract: Interpersonal dysfunction is central to borderline personality disorder (BPD). Recent research has focused on the role of oxytocin (OT) in BPD, with mixed results regarding the processing of social information. Fifteen BPD patients and 15 controls participated in two clinical interviews, one under OT and one under placebo, which were randomly conducted 1 week apart in a double-blind fashion. Nonverbal behavior was evaluated using the Ethological Coding System for Interviews. Childhood trauma was examined using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. The patients with BPD showed less affiliative behavior than the controls. Notably, the controls, but not the patients, displayed more affiliation when OT was given at T1 compared with OT given at T2. OT was also associated with less flight behavior in both groups when given at T1 compared with placebo. OT responses were unrelated to the patients’ history of childhood trauma. The present findings are informative with respect to patients’ nonverbal prosocial behavior in clinical settings.

LWL University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, University of Bochum, Division of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry and Psychiatric Preventive Medicine, Bochum, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Martin Brüne, MD, PhD, LWL University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, University of Bochum, Division of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry and Psychiatric Preventive Medicine, Alexandrinenstraße 1, D-44791 Bochum, Germany. E-mail: martin.bruene@rub.de.

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