The aim of this study was to determine if patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) present higher emotional response than healthy controls in a laboratory setting. Fifty participants (35 patients with BPD and 15 healthy controls) underwent a negative emotion induction procedure (presentation of standardized unpleasant images). Subjective emotional responses were assessed by means of self-reported questionnaires while biological reactivity during the procedure was measured through levels of salivary cortisol (sCORT) and alphaamylase (sAA). Patients with BPD exhibited significant lower cortisol levels and higher sAA levels compared to controls. Self-reported emotional reactivity did not give rise to differences between groups but participants with BPD did present higher levels of negative emotional intensity at baseline and during the entire procedure. The findings do not give support to the emotional hyperreactivity hypothesis in BPD. However, BPD patients presented heightened negative mood intensity at baseline, which should be considered a hallmark of the disorder. Further studies using more BPD-specific emotion inductions are needed to confirm the trends observed in this study. © 2012 Asociación Española de Psicología Conductual.
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