Clinical Psychology 9 (2016), 1, 16-17

Oral papers

Personality Organization and Paraphilic Interests in Women

A. Prunas - Milan-Bicocca State University, Milano, Italy
R. Di Pierro - Milan-Bicocca State University, Milano, Italy
R. Bernorio - Aispa, Milano, Italy

Fulltext (english, pages 16-17).pdf

Objective: According to Kernberg’s psychodynamic model of personality organization (2012), identity integration, defense mechanisms and reality testing allow the classification of personality functioning in three main organizations lying on a continuum of severity. A specific relation is hypothesized to exist between the continuum of personality organization and the spectrum of sexual pathology, ranging from some degree of sexual inhibition in the presence of the capacity for a stable love relationship (neurotic personality organization), to inordinate and chaotic sexual life combined with paraphilic features (borderline personality organization). The aim of the present study is to assess the relationship between features of BPO and the clinical relevance of paraphilic interests in a sample of women from the community. Design and Method: We sampled 224 women voluntarily recruited through adds posted on different websites. Volunteers were invited to participate in a research project on the “relationship between personality characteristics and sexual life”. After providing consent, all participants were invited to fill in a set of questionnaires including: - the Inventory of Personality Organization (Lenzenweger et al., 2001), to assess the main domains of personality structure according to Kernberg’s model; - a modified version of the Paraphilia Scale (Dawson et al., 2014). Results: We found that the presence of three markers of borderline personality organization (Instability of self/others, Instability of behaviour and Psychosis) is associated, in a linear fashion, to the presence and clinical relevance of paraphilic interests. Conclusions: Results support the importance of an accurate assessment of sexual life in order to obtain essential clinical information on personality functioning in clinical settings.

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