Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Ruth A. Baer


Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience intense affect and emotional dyscontrol that may lead them to engage in maladaptive coping strategies and behaviors such as substance use, alcohol use, risky sexual behavior, aggression, and emotional eating. Theory posits that mindfulness, a mental state in which one is attentive, aware, and accepting of the present moment, may lead to increased tolerance of emotional distress. The present study sought to investigate the role of dispositional mindfulness as a moderating factor in the relationship between BPD features and related problematic behaviors using structural equation modeling and regression analyses in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, respectively. Undergraduate students completed questionnaires assessing borderline personality symptoms, trait mindfulness, and incidence of substance use, alcohol use, risky sexual behavior, aggression, and emotional eating over the past 30 days at two time points, three months apart. Results suggested that mindfulness does not moderate the relationship between BPD features and problematic behaviors in either the cross-sectional and longitudinal samples. There was also no evidence to suggest that any one facet of mindfulness moderated the relationship above the other facets in both samples. Findings highlight the need to continue to investigate the driving force behind the incidence of problematic behaviors in individuals with BPD.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)