Brain activation during an emotional task in participants with PTSD and borderline and/or cluster C personality disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Although comorbidity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and/or cluster C personality disorders (CPD) is common, neural correlates of this comorbidity are unknown.

METHODS: We acquired functional MRI scans during an emotional face task in participants with PTSD + CPD (n = 34), PTSD + BPD (n = 24), PTSD + BPD + CPD (n = 18) and controls (n = 30). We used ANCOVAs and Bayesian analyses on specific ROIs in a fearful vs. scrambled faces contrast. We also investigated associations with clinical measures.

RESULTS: There were no robust differences in brain activation between the groups with ANCOVAs. Transdiagnostically, we found a negative association between severity of dissociation and right insula and right dmPFC activation, and emotion regulation problems with right dmPFC activation. Bayesian analyses showed credible evidence for higher activation in all ROIs in the PTSD + BPD + CPD group compared to PTSD + BPD and PTSD + CPD.

DISCUSSION: Our Bayesian and correlation analyses support new dimensional conceptualizations of personality disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103554
Pages (from-to)103554
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Early online date18 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Cluster c personality disorder
  • Emotional face task
  • PSTD
  • fMRI

Cite this