Borderline Personality Features and Harmful Dysregulated Behavior: The Mediational Effect of Mindfulness


  • We thank the Donaghue Medical Research Foundation and Dr. Colon Ross for providing support. The authors also thank their skilled team of coders and research assistants, including Alisa Pisciotta, M.A., Monique DiNapoli, M.A., Kathryn James, M.A., Karina Koerner, Ph.D., Michal Yehezkal, M.A., Jennifer Varley, M.A., and Mia Gintoft, M.D.

Please address correspondence to: Peggilee Wupperman, John Jay College/City University of New York, Psychology Department, Tenth Floor, 524 W 59th St., New York, NY 10019. E-mail:



The current preliminary study investigated whether deficits in mindfulness (awareness, attentiveness, and acceptance of the present experience) may underlie the relationship of borderline personality disorder (BPD) features to self-injury and overall acts of harmful dysregulated behavior.


Nonparametric bootstrapping procedures were used to examine theoretical relationships among variables in a psychiatric sample of adults (N = 70). Participants were asked to imagine themselves in distress-inducing situations and then write what they would actually do to decrease distress in such situations.


As hypothesized, mindfulness statistically mediated the relationship of BPD features to reported acts of (a) self-injury and (b) overall harmful dysregulated behaviors.


Difficulties in the ability to be aware, attentive, and accepting of ongoing experience may play a role in the relationship of BPD features to harmful dysregulated behaviors. Future research should clarify potential reciprocal effects between BPD features and mindfulness with prospective, multioccasion designs.