ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 6, Issue 4, 389-397, 2015
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Cognitive distortions under cognitive load mediate the relationship between severity of borderline personality features and goal-interfering emotion dysregulation.

  Paul Geiger - University of Kentucky
  Jessica Peters - University of Kentucky
  Ruth Baer - University of Kentucky

Volume 6, Issue 4, 2015, Pages 389-397

Dysregulated emotions are central to borderline personality disorder (BPD) and disrupt goal directed behavior. However, there has been limited research elucidating the mechanisms through which this occurs. This study tested the hypothesis that BPD-specific cognitive distortions, particularly under cognitive load, account for the relationship between severity of BPD features and self-reported difficulties with goal-directed behavior when upset. In a sample of undergraduates (n = 187) oversampled for high levels of BPD features, we employed a timed task (unscrambling word strings to create meaningful sentences) to assess BPD-specific cognitive distortions. Severity of BPD features was significantly correlated with the tendency to create BPD-specific sentences, and this relationship was stronger when the task was completed under a cognitive load. Mediational models using bootstrapping suggested that the relationship between BPD features and perceived difficulties with goal-directed behavior when upset may be a result of increases in cognitive distortions under cognitive load. These results offer multi-method evidence for the importance of BPD-related cognitive distortions in accounting for the difficulties in goal pursuit associated with BPD features.

Table of Contents
  Borderline features.
  Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale—Difficulties Engaging in Goal-Directed Behavior Subscale (DERSGoals; Gratz & Roemer, 2004)
  Scrambled Sentences Test for BPD (BPD-SST; Geiger, Peters, & Baer, in press)
 Data Screening

Correspondence to
Paul J. Geiger, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40502.

borderline personality features, emotion regulation, cognitive distortions, goal-directed behavior

Received 19 Dec 2013; Revised 26 Aug 2014; Accepted 4 Dec 2014; In Press 1 Oct 2015

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