We examined within-individual changes in emotion dysregulation over the course of one year as a maintenance factor of borderline personality disorder (BPD) features. We evaluated the extent to which (1) BPD symptom severity at baseline predicted within-individual changes in emotion dysregulation and (2) within-individual changes in emotion dysregulation predicted four BPD features at 12-month follow-up: Affective instability, identity disturbances, negative relationships, and impulsivity. The specificity of emotion dysregulation as a maintaining mechanism of BPD features was examined by controlling for a competing intervening variable, interpersonal conflict. BPD symptoms at baseline predicted overall level and increasing emotion dysregulation. Additionally, increasing emotion dysregulation predicted all four BPD features at 12-month follow-up after controlling for BPD symptoms at baseline. Further, overall level of emotion dysregulation mediated the association between BPD symptom severity at baseline and both affective instability and identity disturbance at 12-month follow-up, consistent with the notion of emotion dysregulation as a maintenance factor. Future research on the malleability of emotion dysregulation in laboratory paradigms and its effects on short-term changes in BPD features is needed to inform interventions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health