The Relationship Between Borderline Personality Symptomatology and Somatic Preoccupation Among Internal Medicine Outpatients

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Objective: In this study, we examined the relationship between borderline personality symptomatology and somatic preoccupation among a sample of internal medicine outpatients.

Method: Using a cross-sectional approach and a sample of convenience, we surveyed 116 patients who presented for nonemergent medical care in an outpatient resident clinic between September 2005 and August 2007. Survey measures for borderline personality disorder (BPD) were the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 (PDQ-4) (DSM-IV criteria) and the Self-Harm Inventory (SHI), both self-report measures. The study measure for somatic preoccupation was the Bradford Somatic Inventory, also self-report in format.

Results: In this study sample, both measures of BPD demonstrated significant correlations with the measure of somatic preoccupation (PDQ-4, r = 0.58, p < .001; SHI, r = 0.53, p < .001).

Conclusion: In primary care settings, patients with high levels of somatic preoccupation should be evaluated for borderline personality symptomatology.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2008;10(4):286-290