The loneliness of personality disorder: a phenomenological study
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Sagan, O. (2017) The loneliness of personality disorder: a phenomenological study. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 21(4), pp. 213-221.
Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to investigate the experience of loneliness amongst people who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Design/methodology/approach -The research used a narrative phenomenological approach. Findings -The study found that the loneliness experienced amongst this group of participants was perceived to have taken root in childhood and was not a transient state. Its endurance, however, had led participants to develop a number of strategies as means by which to manage what was felt to be a deep seated painful sense of emptiness; some of these strategies were, however, risky or harmful. Research limitations/implications - Limitations of the study include the absence of longitudinal data which would have offered the opportunity for the close study of how people manage the experience over time. Practical implications -The study has practical implications for mental health professionals wishing to better understand the difficulties faced by individuals with the characteristics described, but it also highlights the resilience of sufferers who, while living with acute loneliness continue to explore ways of managing it. Social implications -The study brings to the attention that the connectivity and sociability required and expected in today's society emphasise the lack of lonely individuals, further stigmatising loneliness as deficit and taboo. Originality/value -The paper offers a welcome addition to loneliness studies in its adherence to the phenomenological experience and offers a small corrective to the bulk of existing loneliness studies which, while valuable have been more attentive to exploring the constituent elements of loneliness than the lived experience of it. Emerald Publishing Limited.