Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

12-14-2017

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

February

Abstract

Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and high levels of BPD traits have demonstrated greater rates of engagement in risky, self-destructive behaviors compared to healthy controls. Specifically, impulsivity has been theorized to underlie many of these risky behaviors. Although existing self-report literature suggests that individuals with BPD are more impulsive than controls, evidence from behavioral measures remains inconclusive. Likewise, there is scant research examining specific domains of impulsivity associated with risky behaviors in BPD, which is problematic given that impulsivity is a diagnostic criterion for BPD. Thus, the proposed research aims to bridge this gap in the literature by examining associations between BPD traits and domains of impulsivity (e.g, urgency, lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, and sensation seeking), using behavioral measures. Findings suggest that urgency prospectively predicts risky behaviors one-month post assessment. However, contrary to our hypotheses, BPD traits were not significantly associated with any specific impulsivity domain. Additionally, results did not support the notion that impulsivity domains account for the association between BPD traits and future engagement in risky behaviors. Future directions for examining how emotion dysregulation and interpersonal difficulties in BPD relate to impulsivity and risky behaviors are discussed.

First Advisor

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon

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