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.
- Borderline personality disorder
- Interpersonal emotion regulation
- Mother–adolescent conflict