Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 78 Issue 4 (December 2005), Pages 331-569

Utilization of psychotherapy in patients with personality disorder: The impact of gender, character traits, affect regulation, and quality of object‐relations (pages 531-548)

Objectives. The aim of the study was to generate hypotheses for examining gender differences in variables with predictive value for the utilization of psychotherapy in patients with personality disorders (PDs).

Design. Personality traits, affect experience and regulation, the quality of object relations and interpersonal problems within the process of psychotherapy planning were assessed in 140 psychiatric outpatients.

Methods. Besides the structured clinical interviews for DSM‐IV I+II, variables were assessed with the Shedler‐Westen assessment procedure (SWAP‐200), the affect regulation and experience Q sort (AREQ), the quality of object‐relations scale (QORS), and the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP). Correlation and group difference statistics, regression and canonical correlation analysis were performed.

Results. Predictors concerning the utilization or non‐utilization of psychotherapy were a schizoid PD rating a self‐report of subassertive behaviour related to interpersonal problems in women, and a narcissistic PD rating in men. Canonical correlations between predictors and quality of object relations or interpersonal problems were found in women, while in men there was merely a tendency for predictor and affect regulation to be related.

Conclusion . The results suggest that for men it is more important to interpret the dominating affect, while for women, understanding the pathological object relation pattern is useful for successful therapy planning.

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