Nomothetic and Idiographic Patterns of Responses to Emotions in Borderline Personality Disorder

Nicole D. Cardona, Matthew W. Southward, Kayla Furbish, Alexandra Comeau, Shannon Sauer-Zavala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


According to Linehan's (1993) biosocial theory, emotion dysregulation is a core feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Despite significant advances in our understanding of emotion dysregulation in BPD, the specific associations among prompting events, discrete emotions, and selected regulation strategies (adaptive and maladaptive) have not yet been detailed. We explored these relations in a daily diary study of 8 participants (Mage = 21.57, 63% female; 63% Asian) with BPD over 10-12 weeks. Participants reported prompting events of interpersonal conflict, emotional experiences of anxiety, and strategies of problemsolving and intentional avoidance most frequently. We found several unique relations between regulation strategies and both prompting events and discrete emotions, nomothetically (across all participants) and idiographically (within specific participants). These patterns contribute to an enriched understanding of the emotional experiences of people with BPD and demonstrate the value of collecting and considering both group-level and person-specific data on emotion regulation processes within this population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association.


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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