Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jennifer Waltz

Commitee Members

Bryan Cochran, Duncan Campbell, Betsy Bach, Terry Reed


borderline personality characteristics, childhood invalidation, emotion dysregulation, fear of compassion, self compassion


University of Montana


According to Linehan’s (1993) biosocial theory, the core feature of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is emotion dysregulation, which arises from emotional vulnerability and an inability to effectively modulate emotional experiences. Linehan posits that the transaction of environmental invalidation with biological vulnerabilities leads to the development of BPD. Those with BPD often live painful, chaotic lives, experience extreme emotions and impulsivity, and engage in self-injurious behavior. While there are treatments with demonstrated effectiveness, they do not work for everyone, and there is a need to continue to advance interventions. Self-compassion is extending nonjudgmental kindness to one’s self during stress, failure, or suffering, and recognizing that suffering is a shared human experience (Neff, 2003a). Some people, however, fear compassion (Gilbert, Mcewan, Matos, & Rivis, 2011). The purpose of this study was to examine the potential mediating roles of self-compassion and fear of compassion in relationships between childhood invalidation with emotion dysregulation and BPD characteristics. The sample included 257 undergraduate students from the University of Montana. Participants completed self-report measures on BPD, emotion dysregulation, invalidation, self-compassion, and fear of compassion. Results from a parallel mediation analysis supported the study hypotheses. Specifically, self-compassion and fear of compassion for self were significant mediators in the relationships between childhood invalidation with both emotion dysregulation and BPD characteristics. Fear of compassion from others was found to be a mediator in the relationship between childhood invalidation and BPD characteristics. This study adds to a growing body of literature that seeks to identify factors contributing to the development and maintenance of BPD symptoms.



© Copyright 2019 Priyadarshani Florence Loess