Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 1, Spring 2006 (
COMPARISON OF ATTACHMENT STYLES
IN BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Cindy J. Aaronson, M.S.W., Ph.D., Donna S. Bender, Ph.D.,
Andrew E. Skodol, M.D., and John G. Gunderson, M.D.
The intense, unstable interpersonal relationships characteristic of patients
with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are thought to represent insecure at-
tachment. The Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire was used to compare the
attachment styles of patients with BPD to the styles of patients with a contrast-
ing 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 attach-
ment ﬁgure, feared loss of the attachment ﬁgure, lack of use of the attachment
ﬁgure, and separation protest. The ﬁndings may be relevant for understanding
Cindy J. Aaronson, M.S.W., Ph.D., is afﬁliated with Department of Psychiatry, Mount
Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.
Donna S. Bender, Ph.D. and Andrew E. Skodol, M.D., are afﬁliated with Depart-
ment of Personality Studies, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute,
New York, NY.
John G. Gunderson, M.D., is afﬁliated with Personality and Psychosocial Research,
McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA.
Address correspondence to Cindy J. Aaronson, M.S.W., Ph.D., Mount Sinai School of
Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029; e-mail: cindy.
2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.