Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Jennifer C. Veilleux

Committee Member

Denise R. Beike

Second Committee Member

Matthew T. Feldner

Abstract

Linehan's Biosocial theory is a widely accepted model of the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the tenet that experiences of invalidation causally influence the development of the emotion dysregulation that characterizes BPD has been subject to relatively little empirical attention. The purpose of this study thus was to experimentally investigate the effects of validation and invalidation on indices of emotion dysregulation including self-invalidation, distress tolerance, and social problem solving. The current study used a laboratory-based emotion induction procedure in which ninety college students participated in validating or invalidating conversations about emotional events with a peer confederate. Contrary to expectation, invalidated participants did not evidence higher self-invalidation, lower distress tolerance, or impaired social problem solving compared to validated participants. Exploratory analyses indicated that higher self-invalidation prior to the manipulation was associated with higher self-reported emotion dysregulation, internalized self-criticism, rejection sensitivity, and negative affect, as well as with lower distress tolerance. Additionally, invalidated participants provided a marginally greater number of negative responses when asked to think of ways to solve ambiguous social problems and reported experiencing marginally more distress during a distress tolerance task compared to participants who were validated. Implications and directions for further research are discussed.

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