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Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotional Intelligence

Peter, Mathell MSc*; Schuurmans, Hanneke PhD*; Vingerhoets, Ad J.J.M. PhD; Smeets, Guus PhD; Verkoeijen, Peter PhD; Arntz, Arnoud PhD§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2013 - Volume 201 - Issue 2 - p 99–104
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827f64b0
Original Articles

The present study investigated emotional intelligence (EI) in borderline personality disorder (BPD). It was hypothesized that patients with BPD (n = 61) compared with patients with other personality disorders (PDs; n = 69) and nonpatients (n = 248) would show higher scores on the ability to perceive emotions and impairments in the ability to regulate emotions. EI was assessed with the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso [New York: MHS, 2002]). As compared with the PD group and the nonpatient group, the patients with BPD displayed the anticipated deficits in their ability to understand, whereas no differences emerged with respect to their ability to perceive, use, and regulate emotions. In addition, a negative relationship was found between the severity of BPD and total EI score. However, this relationship disappeared when intelligence quotient was partialled out. These results suggest that BPD is associated with emotion understanding deficits, whereas temporary severity of BPD is associated with emotion regulation deficits.

*GGZ Breburg, Tilburg, the Netherlands; †Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands; ‡Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and §Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Send reprint requests to Mathell Peter, MSc, GGZ Breburg, Lage Witsiebaan 4, 5042DA, Tilburg, the Netherlands. E-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.