Heightened salience of anger and aggression in female adolescents with borderline personality disorder-a script-based fMRI study

  • Background: Anger and aggression belong to the core symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Although an early and specific treatment of BPD is highly relevant to prevent chronification, still little is known about anger and aggression and their neural underpinnings in adolescents with BPD. Method: Twenty female adolescents with BPD (age 15–17 years) and 20 female healthy adolescents (age 15–17 years) took part in this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study. A script-driven imagery paradigm was used to induce rejection-based feelings of anger, which was followed by descriptions of self-directed and other-directed aggressive reactions. To investigate the specificity of the neural activation patterns for adolescent patients, results were compared with data from 34 female adults with BPD (age 18–50 years) and 32 female healthy adults (age 18–50 years). Results: Adolescents with BPD showed increased activations in the left posterior insula and left dorsal striatum as well as in the left inferior frontal cortex and parts of the mentalizing network during the rejection-based anger induction and the imagination of aggressive reactions compared to healthy adolescents. For the other-directed aggression phase, a significant diagnosis by age interaction confirmed that these results were specific for adolescents. Discussion: The results of this very first fMRI study on anger and aggression in adolescents with BPD suggest an enhanced emotional reactivity to and higher effort in controlling anger and aggression evoked by social rejection at an early developmental stage of the disorder. Since emotion dysregulation is a known mediator for aggression in BPD, the results point to the need of appropriate early interventions for adolescents with BPD.

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Author:Marlene Krauch, Kai Ueltzhöffer, Romuald Brunner, Michael Kaess, Saskia Hensel, Sabine Herpertz, Katja Bertsch
Pubmed Id:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29632476
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Nelly Alia-Klein
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/03/26
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/04/17
Tag:adolescence; aggression; anger; borderline personality disorder; emotion regulation; functional magnetic resonance imaging; group x age interaction; social threat sensitivity
Issue:Art. 57
Page Number:11
First Page:1
Last Page:11
Copyright: © 2018 Krauch, Ueltzhöffer, Brunner, Kaess, Hensel, Herpertz and Bertsch. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0