Support for linehan's biosocial theory from a nonclinical sample

Mark Reeves, Lisa M. James, Scott M. Pizzarello, Jeanette E. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Linehan's biosocial theory of borderline personality disorder (BPD) was tested in a sample of 1,044 female college students. Relationships between self-reported BPD symptoms, two personality traits (negative emotionality and constraint), and three key variables from the biosocial theory (emotional vulnerability, invalidation, and emotional dysregulation) were examined using structural equation modeling. Consistent with the biosocial theory, the best fitting model Indicated that emotional vulnerability and emotional dysregulation were uniquely related to BPD symptoms after controlling for personality traits, and that dysregulation mediated the relationship between emotional vulnerability and BPD. However, invalidation was not significantly associated with BPD and could be dropped from that model. The full model with Linehan's constructs and personality traits explained 58% of the variance in BPD and, as expected, explained considerably less variance in symptoms of other Cluster B PDs. The present results highlight the incremental value of the Linehan's theory and its specificity to BPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-326
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


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