The Main and Interactive Effects of Maternal Interpersonal Emotion Regulation and Negative Affect on Adolescent Girls’ Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, Diana J. Whalen, Lori N. Scott, Nicole D. Cummins, Stephanie D. Stepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The transaction of adolescent’s expressed negative affect and parental interpersonal emotion regulation are theoretically implicated in the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Although problem solving and support/validation are interpersonal strategies that foster emotion regulation, little is known about whether these strategies are associated with less BPD severity among adolescents. Adolescent girls (age 16; N = 74) and their mothers completed a conflict discussion task, and maternal problem solving, support/validation, and girls’ negative affect were coded. Girls’ BPD symptoms were assessed at four time points. A 3-way interaction of girls’ negative affect, problem solving, and support/validation indicated that girls’ negative affect was only associated with BPD severity in the context of low maternal support/validation and high maternal problem solving. These variables did not predict changes in BPD symptoms over time. Although high negative affect is a risk for BPD severity in adolescent girls, maternal interpersonal emotion regulation strategies moderate this link. Whereas maternal problem solving coupled with low support/validation is associated with a stronger negative affect-BPD relation, maternal problem solving paired with high support/validation is associated with an attenuated relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-393
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Interpersonal emotion regulation
  • Mother–adolescent conflict
  • Parenting

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