Affective Instability as a Clinical Feature of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avigal Snir, Eran Bar-Kalifa, Kathy R. Berenson, Geraldine Downey, Eshkol Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The current study's main goal was to examine whether affective instability is elevated among individuals suffering from avoidant personality disorder (APD) by comparing it to the affective instability found among individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) as well that found among healthy controls. Adults (N 152, aged 18-65 years) with BPD, APD, or no psychopathology participated in a 3-week computerized diary study. We examined temporal instability in negative affect using experience-sampling methods. Both within and between days, individuals with APD showed greater affective instability compared to the healthy control individuals, although less affective instability compared to individuals with BPD. The findings are in line with affective instability (or emotional lability) as a key dimension relevant across personality disorders. Additionally, they emphasize the need for research and clinical attention to affective characteristics (alongside the more readily recognized interpersonal characteristics) of APD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • APD
  • BPD
  • affective instability
  • diary methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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