An investigation of the biosocial model of borderline personality disorder
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 03:48 authored by Duncan James Gill
Linehan's biosocial model of borderline personality disorder posits that the disorder is due to emotional dysregulation, which is in turn caused primarily by the interaction between an emotionally vulnerable child being raised in an invalidating environment. Despite the popularity of the therapy derived from this model, dialectical behaviour therapy, this model has not been empirically validated. In the first study self-report measures of borderline traits, emotional dysregulation, childhood emotional vulnerability and invalidating parenting were administered to a community sample. Emotion dysregulation was found to strongly predict borderline traits; however the interaction between childhood emotional vulnerability and invalidating parenting was not found to be an important part of the model. Further, the effects of validating parenting upon borderline traits were not mediated by emotion dysregulation. The second study extended the findings of the first, attempting to improve the measure of emotional dysregulation by including aspects of emotional dysregulation not currently assessed. Further, the applicability of the biosocial model to a comparison psychopathology, chronic worry, was assessed. It was found that childhood emotional vulnerability had a similar relationship to both forms of pathology, suggesting that this represents a general risk factor (akin to childhood neuroticism). Further, differing patterns of emotion regulation deficits were noted for each of the pathologies. Overall these studies failed to support the biosocial model, raising questions as to the posited relationships between key constructs in the model and their specificity to borderline personality disorder. A potentially more accurate model is posited, that highlights the role of a number of factors in the disorder and its evolving nature.