Zu den Inhalten springen

Research group Matthies

Adult ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder
Group leader:Dr. S. Matthies
Phone: +49 (0)761 270 - 65010
Email: swantje.matthies@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Group members: Dipl. Biol. T. Dopatka
Dipl. Psych. C. Sadohara          
Dipl. Psych. E. Hoxhaj
Dipl. Psych. P. Borel
M. Volkmann, M. Weber, M. Kamp, K. Knubben

Psychopathology of adult ADHD

Research focus

Differential psychopathology of adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the main focus of our research group. Psychopathology of adult ADHD is the result of an adaptation process. The affected individual adapts both to the dispositional deficits and strengths and to the learning environment. Therefore different developmental trajectories result in different clinical presentations and comorbidity patterns.

We are particularly interested in the overlaps and differences in the psychopathology of ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The aims of our research group are to further elucidate common pathological mechanisms in ADHD and BPD and to explain differential aspects. Affective Dysregulation and problems concerning impulse control are common features of adult ADHD and BPD. The research group is interested in the common and differentiating mechanisms of affective and impulse control regulation in adult ADHD and BPD. The impact of psychotherapeutic techniques especially mindfulness techniques targeting the development of adaptive emotion regulation strategies is a focus of interest to further improve therapeutic options. The results might be informative for the development of new treatment strategies or the explanation of existing strategies.

Current Collaborations

  • Prof. Alexandra Philipsen, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Oldenburg (Karl-Jaspers-Klinik):
    1. Evaluation of the Efficacy and Effectiveness of a Structured Disorder-Specific Psychotherapy in ADHD in Adults – The First Randomized Multicentre Study (BMBF-ADHD-C1) (PI: Philipsen, grant number 01GV0606) [publication]
    2. The impact of ADHD in mothers on the treatment of their ADHD children - a randomized controlled multi-centre trial on parent training (Co-PI: Philipsen, grant number 01GV0605)
  • Department of Psychology, Laboratory for Biological and Personality Psychology, University of Freiburg (Prof. M. Heinrichs): Pharmacological Enhancement of psychotherapy with oxytocin – a randomized placebo controlled trail in females with BPD
  • Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Tübingen (Prof. J. Svaldi): Study of the effectiveness of self-help in adult ADHD – a controlled trial (Sadohara, Philipsen)


  • Comparing the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and psychoeducational therapy on symptomatology and neurophysiological correlates of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - A randomized controlled trial (Hoxhaj, Philipsen)
  • Study of the effectiveness of self-help in adult ADHD – a controlled trial (Sadohara, Philipsen, Svaldi)
  • Clinical and neurophysiological correlates of emotion regulation and impulse control in ADHD and BPD (Matthies, Philipsen)
  • Comorbidity and differential diagnosis of ADHD and BPD (Philipsen, Matthies)

Recent Publications

  • Philipsen A, Lam A P, Breit S, Lücke C, Müller H H, Matthies S. Early maladaptive schemas in adult patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord. DOI 10.1007/s12402-016-0211-8
  • Nanchen K, Brodführer A, Heinrichs M, Philipsen A, Tebartz van Elst L, Matthies S.  Autistische Züge bei Patientinnen mit Borderline-Persönlichkeitsstörung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Empathie. Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie, Psychologie und Psychotherapie (2016), 64, pp. 247-255.
  • Matthies S, Sadohara-Bannwarth C, Lehnhart S, Schulte-Maeter J, Philipsen A. The Impact of Depressive Symptoms and Traumatic Experiences on Quality of Life in Adults With ADHD. J Atten Disord. 2016 [Epub ahead of print]
  • Matthies S, Philipsen A. Comorbidity of Personality Disorders and Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)--Review of Recent Findings. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016 Apr;18(4):33.
  • Philipsen A, Jans T, Graf E, Matthies S, Borel P, Colla M, Gentschow L, Langner D, Jacob C, Groß-Lesch S, Sobanski E, Alm B, Schumacher-Stien M, Roesler M, Retz W, Retz-Junginger P, Kis B, Abdel-Hamid M, Heinrich V, Huss M, Kornmann C, Bürger A, Perlov E, Ihorst G, Schlander M, Berger M, Tebartz van Elst L; Comparison of Methylphenidate and Psychotherapy in Adult ADHD Study (COMPAS) Consortium. Effects of Group Psychotherapy, Individual Counseling, Methylphenidate, and Placebo in the Treatment of Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;72(12):1199-210.
  • Groß S, Figge C, Matthies S, Philipsen A. AHDS im Erwachsenenalter. Diagnostik und Therapie. Nervenarzt. 2015 Sep;86(9):1171-8; quiz 1179-80. DGPPN Best Paper Award 2016
  • Matthies S, Philipsen A, Lackner HK, Sadohara C, Svaldi J. Regulation of sadness via acceptance or suppression in adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Psychiatry Research, 2014;220(1-2):461-7.
  • Scheel CN, Bender C, Tuschen-Caffier B, Brodführer A, Matthies S, Hermann C, Geisse EK, Svaldi J, Brakemeier EL, Philipsen A, Jacob GA. Do patients with different mental disorders show specific aspects of shame? Psychiatry Res, 2014;220(1-2):490-5.
  • Matthies S, Philipsen A. Common ground in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – Review of Recent Findings. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation (BPDED).2014 1:3.
  • Svaldi J, Philipsen A, Matthies S. Risky decision-making in borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry Res. 2012 May 15;197(1-2):112-8. Epub 2012 Mar 13.
  • Matthies S, Philipsen A, Svaldi J. Risky Decision Making in Adults with ADHD. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 2012 Sep;43(3):938-46. Epub 2012 Feb 25.
  • Svaldi J, Dorn C, Matthies S, Philipsen A. Effects of suppression and acceptance of sadness on the urge for non-suicidal self-injury and self-punishment. Psychiatry Res. 2012 Dec 30; 200(2-3):404-16. Epub 2012 Jul 20.
  • Matthies S, van Elst LT, Feige B, Fischer D, Scheel C, Krogmann E, Perlov E, Ebert D, Philipsen A. Severity of childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder--a risk factor for personality disorders in adult life? J Pers Disord. 2011 Feb;25(1):101-14. PubMed PMID: 21309626.