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Frontal EEG asymmetry moderates the relation between borderline personality disorder features and feelings of social rejection in adolescents
Development and Psychopathology  (IF4.151),  Pub Date : 2022-04-20, DOI: 10.1017/s0954579422000128
Victoria E. Stead, Louis A. Schmidt, Michael J. Crowley, Lisa Dyce, Geoffrey B. Hall, Ryan J. Van Lieshout, Khrista Boylan

Although associations among borderline personality disorder (BPD), social rejection, and frontal EEG alpha asymmetry scores (FAA, a neural correlate of emotion regulation and approach-withdrawal motivations) have been explored in different studies, relatively little work has examined these relations during adolescence in the same study. We examined whether FAA moderated the relation between BPD features and rejection sensitivity following a validated social exclusion paradigm, Cyberball. A mixed, clinical-community sample of 64 adolescents (females = 62.5%; Mage = 14.45 years; SD = 1.6; range = 11-17 years) completed psychodiagnostic interviews and a self-report measure of BPD (Time 1). Approximately two weeks later (Time 2), participants completed a resting EEG recording followed by Cyberball. FAA moderated the relation between BPD features and overall feelings of rejection following Cyberball: individuals with greater relative left FAA had the highest and lowest feelings of social rejection depending on whether they had high and low BPD feature scores, respectively. Results remained after controlling for age, sex, gender, depression, and BPD diagnosis. These results suggest that FAA may moderate the relation between BPD features and social rejection, and that left frontal brain activity at rest may be differentially associated with those feelings in BPD. Findings are discussed in terms of the link between left frontal brain activity in the regulation and dysregulation of social approach behaviors, characteristic of BPD.