Social disadvantage and borderline personality disorder: A study of social networks

Joseph E. Beeney, Michael N. Hallquist, Allan D. Clifton, Sophie A. Lazarus, Paul A. Pilkonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Examining differences in social integration, social support, and relationship characteristics in social networks may be critical for understanding the character and costs of the social difficulties experienced of borderline personality disorder (BPD). We conducted an ego-based (self-reported, individual) social network analysis of 142 participants recruited from clinical and community sources. Each participant listed the 30 most significant people (called alters) in their social network, then rated each alter in terms of amount of contact, social support, attachment strength and negative interactions. In addition, measures of social integration were determined using participant's report of the connection between people in their networks. BPD was associated with poorer social support, more frequent negative interactions, and less social integration. Examination of alter-by-BPD interactions indicated that whereas participants with low BPD symptoms had close relationships with people with high centrality within their networks, participants with high BPD symptoms had their closest relationships with people less central to their networks. The results suggest that individuals with BPD are at a social disadvantage: Those with whom they are most closely linked (including romantic partners) are less socially connected (i.e., less central) within their social network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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