The Role of Mindfulness in Borderline Personality Disorder Features

Psychology Department, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/City University of New York, New York, NY 10019, USA.
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.69). 10/2009; 197(10):766-71. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181b97343
Source: PubMed


This study investigated whether deficits in mindfulness (attention, awareness, and acceptance of the present moment) underlie variability in borderline personality disorder (BPD) features and related impairments in interpersonal functioning, impulsivity, and emotion regulation. A path analytic approach was used to examine the relationships of trait mindfulness with BPD features, interpersonal effectiveness, impulsive and passive emotion-regulation, and neuroticism in a psychiatric sample of adults (N = 70). As hypothesized, mindfulness was associated inversely with BPD features and core areas of dysfunction, and these associations continued when controlling for neuroticism. Furthermore, mindfulness deficits continued to predict BPD features even when interpersonal effectiveness, passive and impulsive emotion-regulation, and neuroticism were controlled. These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a unique predictor for the expression of BPD pathology. An emphasis on mindfulness may thus be crucial in enhancing the formulation and treatment of BPD.

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Available from: Seth R Axelrod
    • "As compared to other individuals, BPD patients tend to experience higher rates of negative emotions, show greater reactivity when they occur, and greater affective instability (Rosenthal et al., 2008); they also experience higher rates of anhedonia – an inability to experience positive affect (Marissen, Arnold, & Franken, 2012).These differences in emotional experience and reactivity appear to be related to patterns of avoidance, suppression, and distraction. BPD patients avoid or suppress negative emotions (Beblo et al., 2013;Conklin, Bradley, & Westen, 2006), positive emotions (Beblo et al., 2013;Jacob, Ower, & Buchholz, 2013), and difficult thoughts (Chapman, Specht, & Cellucci, 2005;Tuna & Bozo, 2014;Wupperman, Neumann, Whitman, & Axelrod, 2009). In other words, they display broad patterns of experiential avoidance (EA): avoiding or suppressing a range of private experiences (i.e., thoughts, memories) even when doing so interferes with valued actions (Hayes, Wilson, Gifford, Follette, & Strosahl, 1996). "

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    • "Of note is that the relationship of BPD features to mindfulness is likely not stagnant; instead, BPD features and mindfulness likely have reciprocal effects over time. Thus, deficits in the ability to experience and tolerate current emotions/thoughts/sensations may lead to increased BPD features (as proposed in Wupperman et al., 2009), and the intense negative affect and lability of BPD features may lead to additional difficulties experiencing and tolerating current emotions/thoughts/sensations (which may lead to increased dysregulated behaviors, as would be consistent with the current findings). The evaluation of such a model is beyond the scope of this study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: The current preliminary study investigated whether deficits in mindfulness (awareness, attentiveness, and acceptance of the present experience) may underlie the relationship of borderline personality disorder (BPD) features to self-injury and overall acts of harmful dysregulated behavior. Method: Nonparametric bootstrapping procedures were used to examine theoretical relationships among variables in a psychiatric sample of adults (N = 70). Participants were asked to imagine themselves in distress-inducing situations and then write what they would actually do to decrease distress in such situations. Results: As hypothesized, mindfulness statistically mediated the relationship of BPD features to reported acts of (a) self-injury and (b) overall harmful dysregulated behaviors. Conclusions: Difficulties in the ability to be aware, attentive, and accepting of ongoing experience may play a role in the relationship of BPD features to harmful dysregulated behaviors. Future research should clarify potential reciprocal effects between BPD features and mindfulness with prospective, multioccasion designs.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Journal of Clinical Psychology
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    • "We interpreted the results to represent an effortful but insufficient attempt to control intense emotions in patients with BPD. BPD symptoms have also been found to be associated with a decreased acceptance of current experiences in a psychiatric sample (Wupperman et al., 2009), and an acceptance-based "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) show evidence of disturbed emotion regulation. In particular, patients may try to suppress their emotions with possibly negative effects on mental health. We investigated the suppression of both negative and positive emotions in BPD patients and healthy participants. Thirty BPD patients and 30 matched healthy controls were assessed for emotion suppression using the Emotion Acceptance Questionnaire (EAQ). In addition, we administered additional questionnaires to validate emotion suppression findings. BPD patients reported increased attempts to suppress both negative and positive emotions. These findings indicate that BPD patients are not simply acting out negative emotions. Therapeutic approaches that focus on emotion acceptance of emotions are supported by our study data. Apart from negative emotions, treatment programs should consider positive emotions as well.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013
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