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Impact of Mindfulness Training on Borderline Personality Disorder: A Randomized Trial

Abstract

Recent research suggests that deficits in the ability to be mindful may be related to core aspects of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Mindfulness plays a central role in BPD treatment, and evidence also indicates that mindfulness is the most commonly practiced of the skills taught in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). The present study investigated whether a 10-week mindfulness training program would improve BPD symptoms and mindfulness-related capacities in a sample of individuals diagnosed with BPD. A total of 64 participants (mean age = 31.64, SD = 6.9; 86 % female) were randomized to 10 weeks of mindfulness (n = 32) or interpersonal effectiveness skills training (control group; n = 32). BPD symptoms and mindfulness capacities were measured at pre- and post-intervention. Compared to the control group, participants assigned to mindfulness experienced a significantly greater reduction and increase, respectively, in BPD symptoms and decentering capacity. Treatment response rates (in reference to BPD symptoms) were higher for the mindfulness group (40 vs. 13 %). Interpersonal effectiveness alone did not result in improvements on any outcome measures. These findings suggest that mindfulness training may be a useful approach to decreasing BPD symptoms while simultaneously improving mindfulness capacities.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all participants of the study. This study was supported by the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM) and by a grant from Facultad de Psicología (UdelaR) to the first author. This study was also funded by a grant from the ISCIII (PI13/00134) and co-financed with European Union ERDF funds. JS was supported by PROMOSAM: Investigación en procesos, mecanismos y tratamientos psicológicos para la promoción de la salud mental (Red de Excelencia PSI2014-56303-REDT) founded by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (2014). MJP is funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación of the Spanish Government and by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III through a “Miguel Servet” research contract (CP10-00393), within the “Plan Estatal de I+D+I” 2013–2016, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Correspondence to Joaquim Soler.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02397031.

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Elices, M., Pascual, J.C., Portella, M.J. et al. Impact of Mindfulness Training on Borderline Personality Disorder: A Randomized Trial. Mindfulness 7, 584–595 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0492-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0492-1

Keywords

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Decentering