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168. Borderline personality pathology as a network of temporally connected symptoms
Current conceptualizations of borderline personality pathology are limited by certain unwarranted assumptions. Following the disease model, it is assumed that symptoms co-occur due to an underlying common cause. Network psychometricians have proposed a fundamentally different conceptualization: symptoms co-occur not because of a common cause but because of direct dynamic associations among symptoms. This study aims to understand borderline personality pathology as a network of temporally connected symptoms.
Methods: Participants were 21 undergraduate students endorsing 5 or more symptoms on the McLean Screening Instrument for BPD (Zanarini et al., 2003). Following baseline assessment, participants were prompted to answer a Qualtrics-based survey of BPD symptoms twice each day for 40 days.
Results: Temporal network analysis was implemented using R packages qgraph and mlVAR which yield within person contemporaneous and temporal network of symptoms. Nodes with the highest in-degree included impulsive behavior and fluctuations in mood. Nodes with the highest out-degree were fear of abandonment and dissociation. Network structure and comparison between contemporaneous and temporal networks will be visually presented.
Conclusions: The present study demonstrates how BPD symptoms interact witheach other over time and maintain the disordered state within-person. By identifying the most central nodes, temporal network analysis can inform personalized treatment.