Dialectical behavior therapy skills for transdiagnostic emotion dysregulation: a pilot randomized controlled trial.


Journal Article

Difficulties with emotions are common across mood and anxiety disorders. Dialectical behavior therapy skills training (DBT-ST) reduces emotion dysregulation in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Preliminary evidence suggests that use of DBT skills mediates changes seen in BPD treatments. Therefore, we assessed DBT-ST as a stand-alone, transdiagnostic treatment for emotion dysregulation and DBT skills use as a mediator of outcome. Forty-four anxious and/or depressed, non-BPD adults with high emotion dysregulation were randomized to 16 weeks of either DBT-ST or an activities-based support group (ASG). Participants completed measures of emotion dysregulation, DBT skills use, and psychopathology every 2 months through 2 months posttreatment. Longitudinal analyses indicated that DBT-ST was superior to ASG in decreasing emotion dysregulation (d = 1.86), increasing skills use (d = 1.02), and decreasing anxiety (d = 1.37) but not depression (d = 0.73). Skills use mediated these differential changes. Participants found DBT-ST acceptable. Thirty-two percent of DBT-ST and 59% of ASG participants dropped treatment. Fifty-nine percent of DBT-ST and 50% of ASG participants complied with the research protocol of avoiding ancillary psychotherapy and/or medication changes. In summary, DBT-ST is a promising treatment for emotion dysregulation for depressed and anxious transdiagnostic adults, although more assessment of feasibility is needed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Neacsiu, AD; Eberle, JW; Kramer, R; Wiesmann, T; Linehan, MM

Published Date

  • August 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 59 /

Start / End Page

  • 40 - 51

PubMed ID

  • 24974307

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24974307

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-622X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.brat.2014.05.005


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England