REVIEW PAPER
Mentalization in borderline individuals: an attempt to integrate contradictory research results
 
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Submission date: 2017-09-08
Final revision date: 2018-09-07
Acceptance date: 2018-09-13
Online publication date: 2018-12-19
Publication date: 2018-12-17
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2018;6(4):266–278
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Researchers have been striving to explore the functioning of patients with borderline personality disorder from the perspective of their capacity to mentalize. Analyzing the expanding body of literature, it is nevertheless difficult to reach a clear conclusion. There are studies that confirm mentalization deficits in this group; however, there are also reports suggesting better or at last equal mentalizing in borderline individuals compared to controls. This paper discusses a hypothetical explanation of these contradictory results by analyzing three fundamental issues. It is assumed that: (1) different aspects of mentalization are measured in studies – some of them are disordered, while others remain intact in borderline individuals; (2) mentali­zation can be understood not only as a trait but also as a state, and its level may differ in the same person depending on measurement conditions; (3) the borderline group is heterogeneous in terms of mentalizing because other variables determine the level of this capacity.
 
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