ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 6, Issue 4, 369-388, 2015
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A Preliminary Pilot Study Comparing Dialectical Behavior Therapy Emotion Regulation Skills with Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills and a Control Group Treatment

  Katherine Dixon-Gordon - University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
  Alexander Chapman - Simon Fraser University, Department of Psychology, Burnaby BC, CAN
  Brianna Turner - Simon Fraser University, Department of Psychology, Burnaby BC, CAN

Volume 6, Issue 4, 2015, Pages 369-388

This pilot study examined the effects of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) emotion regulation (ER) skills training for borderline personality disorder (BPD). To date, studies have yet to reveal whether specific DBT skill modules uniquely improve ER problems - one of the putative factors considered to underlie clinical problems in BPD. This preliminary examination aimed to characterize the effect sizes of DBT-ER compared to DBT interpersonal effectiveness (DBTIE) skills training. Women with BPD (N = 19) were randomized to 6-weeks of DBT-ER, DBT-IE, or a control group. BPD symptoms, emotion regulation, and other BPD-relevant outcomes were assessed using self-report and laboratory-based measures. The DBT-ER group demonstrated large effect sizes for improved self-reported reactivity to an emotional stressor, generation of active rather than passive solutions to interpersonal problems, as well as selfreported distress tolerance, mindfulness, and BPD symptoms following treatment. At follow-up, DBT-ER training was also associated with large improvements in ER, social problem solving, and depression. Similarly large effect sizes, however, were sometimes also achieved in the DBT-IE and control condition. Significant condition x time interactions were detected for non-suicidal self-injury and mindfulness, with significant improvements occurring only in the DBTER group, whereas such interactions were not detected for other outcomes. These findings, although preliminary, can stimulate future research examining the specificity of DBT skills.

Table of Contents
 Treatment Protocols
  Treatment Integrity.
  Expectancies of improvement.
 Outcome Assessment
  Self-reported emotion regulation difficulties.
  Emotional reactivity.
  Goal persistence.
  Interpersonal skills.
  Distress tolerance.
  Borderline personality symptoms.
  NSSI frequency.
 Laboratory procedures.
 Data Analytic Approach
 Preliminary Analyses
  Hypothesis 1: The DBT-ER group would show improvements in emotion regulation.
  Hypothesis 2: The DBT-ER group would show improvements in DBT skills domains.
  Hypothesis 3: The DBT groups would show improvements in clinical severity.

Correspondence to
Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon

Psychotherapy; borderline personality disorder; emotion regulation; Dialectical Behavior Therapy; randomized controlled trial

Received 10 Mar 2014; Revised 10 Feb 2015; Accepted 17 May 2015; In Press 30 Dec 2015

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