Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Ruth A. Baer

Abstract

Cognitive bias and thought suppression are two maladaptive patterns of thinking that have been associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Negative cognitive biases related to BPD include thoughts that they are bad, powerless, or vulnerable and that the world is dangerous. Thought suppression is a maladaptive emotion regulation strategy where unwanted thoughts are intentionally pushed out of one’s consciousness. However, previous research has connected thought suppression and cognitive biases to BPD only via self-report measures. The present study examined whether a laboratory task meant to measure cognitive bias and thought suppression (Scrambled Sentences Test) would predict BPD features over and above self report measures of cognitive bias and thought suppression. A sample of 153 undergraduates completed self-report measures of BPD features, thought suppression, and negative cognitive biases, as well as the Scrambled Sentences Test (SST). Results showed that while the SST was a good predictor of cognitive biases, it did not predict thought suppression when self report measures were included. Recognizing the importance of negative cognitive bias in BPD may be useful in continued treatment development. Further research into other ways of measuring thought suppression and cognitive biases in the lab may be warranted.

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