Being afraid of others’ positive appraisal of oneself is called fear of positive evaluation. Fear of positive evaluation has been studied intensively in the context of social anxiety disorder (SAD). It is not known if individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) fear positive evaluation and which factors are associated with fear of positive evaluation in BPD. Methods:
We applied the fear of positive evaluation scale and further self-report measures (e.g., social phobia inventory, rejection sensitivity questionnaire) to 36 patients with BPD, 29 patients with SAD and 35 healthy controls (HC). Results:
A one-way ANOVA revealed that patients with BPD and patients with SAD reported significantly higher fear of positive evaluation than HC. Patients with BPD and SAD did not differ in their fear of positive evaluation. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed an association between rejection sensitivity and fear of positive evaluation in the BPD sample. However, this association disappeared when controlling for social anxiety. Conclusion:
Our results indicate that individuals with BPD fear positive evaluation as much as individuals with SAD do, which has implications for clinical practice. Our results further imply that social anxiety is decisive for high fear of positive evaluation in patients with SAD and patients with BPD.