Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 69–80 | Cite as

Comparison of Attachment Styles in Borderline Personality Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

  • Cindy J. Aaronson
  • Donna S. Bender
  • Andrew E. Skodol
  • John G. Gunderson


The intense, unstable interpersonal relationships characteristic of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are thought to represent insecure attachment. The Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire was used to compare the attachment styles of patients with BPD to the styles of patients with a contrasting personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). The results showed that patients with BPD were more likely to exhibit angry withdrawal and compulsive care-seeking attachment patterns. Patients with BPD also scored higher on the dimensions of lack of availability of the attachment figure, feared loss of the attachment figure, lack of use of the attachment figure, and separation protest. The findings may be relevant for understanding the core interpersonal psychopathology of BPD and for managing therapeutic relationships with these patients.

Key Words

attachment style attachment patterns borderline personality disorder obsessive compulsive personality disorder 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy J. Aaronson
    • 1
    • 4
  • Donna S. Bender
    • 2
  • Andrew E. Skodol
    • 2
  • John G. Gunderson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMount Sinai School of MedicineNew York
  2. 2.Department of Personality StudiesColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew York
  3. 3.Personality and Psychosocial ResearchMcLean HospitalBelmontMA
  4. 4.Mount Sinai School of MedicineNew York

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