The Structure of Past and Future Events in Borderline Personality Disorder, Eating Disorder, and Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

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The narrative structure and episodic richness of self-generated past and future events were examined in patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), eating disorder (ED), and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), respectively, and compared with a nonclinical control group. The 3 patient groups generated fewer events characterized by a classic narrative structure, with the event narrative building up to a high point followed by an evaluation. The narrative structures demonstrated by the BPD and ED groups were most deviant from the control group in terms of more frequently involving an impoverished narrative structure for past events and in terms of generating fewer future events with specific episodic contents. These deficits were more marked in the BPD group. The findings show that the ability to construct coherent past and future events is compromised across clinical diagnoses, but more so in patients diagnosed with BPD.

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