Previous studies that aimed to support emotion recognition deficits and alexithymia
in B cluster personality disorders have mainly focused on borderline personality disorder
(BPD), and resulted in mixed findings. In our study we examine emotion recognition
and alexithymia in patients with histrionic (HPD), narcissistic (NPD) and borderline
(BPD) personality disorders compared to each other and healthy controls. Furthermore,
the possibility is investigated that it is not the type of PD but the severity of
psychopathology which predicts the severity of emotion recognition deficits and alexithymia.
Patients with HPD, NPD, BPD and healthy controls (N=20 for each group) were examined
by using the Ekman 60 Faces Test (FEEST) and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20).
To measure the extent and severity of psychopathology, the Symptom-Checklist-90 Revised
(SCL-90-R) was used. Patient groups performed significantly worse compared to healthy
controls on the Ekman test and TAS-20, while we found no significant differences among
patient groups in emotion recognition and alexithymia. Furthermore, higher scores
on the SCL-90-R predicted poorer emotion recognition performance and higher alexithymic
features. The empirical data supports the conclusion that the severity of psychopathology
plays an important role in predicting emotion recognition deficits and alexithymia
in borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders.