Sensitivity to Reward and Punishment in Borderline and Avoidant Personality Disorders
Sarah M. Van De Weert ‘16, Gettysburg College
Stella Nicolaou ‘19, Gettysburg College
Cindy Campoverde ‘20, Gettysburg College
The authors compared self-reported and behavioral responses to reward and punishment in individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) or avoidant personality disorder (APD) relative to a healthy comparison (HC) group. As predicted, self-reported sensitivity to reward was significantly higher in the BPD group than in the APD and HC groups. Also as predicted, self-reported sensitivity to punishment was significantly elevated in both disordered groups but significantly higher in APD than in BPD. These hypothesized patterns were also evident in responses to behavioral tasks: Participants with BPD made more errors of commission and fewer errors of omission than HC participants on a passive avoidance learning task, and participants with APD showed greater reactivity to losses than other participants on a probabilistic reversal learning task. Results help characterize differences between these two disorders.
Berenson, Kathy R., Sarah M. Van De Weert, Stella Nicolaou, Cindy Campoverde, Eshkol Rafaeli, and Geraldine Downey. “Reward and Punishment Sensitivity in Borderline and Avoidant Personality Disorders.” Journal of Personality Disorders, 2020, 1–16.
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