Borderline Personality Disorder and the Effects of Instructed Emotional Avoidance or Acceptance in Daily Life.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This study examined the effects of avoidance- versus acceptance-oriented emotion regulation instructions among individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD; n = 48), major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 54), and non-psychiatric controls (NPC; n = 50) using ecological momentary assessment. Participants were randomly assigned to either accept or avoid negative emotions, and monitored their moods, urges, and distress tolerance several times per day over 6 days. Avoidance instructions resulted in reduced negative affect and urges for maladaptive behaviors uniquely among BPD participants. Together with past research, and consistent with treatment approaches emphasizing the short-term use of skills to avoid or distract from emotions (e.g., DBT; Linehan, 1993b, 2015), these findings suggest that avoidance of negative emotions may have temporary benefits for individuals with BPD. Acceptance-oriented strategies may take longer or may require more extensive training to be beneficial for emotional functioning in everyday life in BPD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chapman, AL; Rosenthal, MZ; Dixon-Gordon, KL; Turner, BJ; Kuppens, P

Published Date

  • August 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 483 - 502

PubMed ID

  • 27617652

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-2763

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1521/pedi_2016_30_264


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States