Attributional “tunnel vision” in patients with borderline personality disorder

Lisa Schilling*, Steffen Moritz, Brooke Schneider, Julia Bierbrodt, Matthias Nagel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to examine the profile of interpersonal attributions in BPD. We hypothesized that patients show more mono-causal and internal attributions than healthy controls. A revised version of the Internal, Personal, Situational and Attributions Questionnaire was assessed in 30 BPD patients and 30 healthy controls. BPD patients and controls differed significantly in their attributional pattern. Patients displayed more mono-causal inferences, that is, they had difficulties considering alternative explanatory factors. For negative events, patients made more internal attributions compared to healthy controls. We concluded that mono-causal “trapped” thinking might contribute to (interpersonal) problems in BPD patients by fostering impulsive consequential behaviors, for example, harming one’s self or others. A self-blaming tendency likely promotes depressive symptoms and low self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-846
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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