The primary aim of this study was to determine whether a self-compassion manipulation has promise in addressing a core interpersonal vulnerability (sensitivity to social rejection) in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Forty-nine participants with high BP features were randomly assigned to complete a state self-compassion writing induction or a neutral control writing task. Participants then experienced self-relevant interpersonal rejection through receiving feedback on personal profile questions from another (fictional) participant. Emotional state was assessed at baseline, pre-manipulation, and post-rejection. Participants in both conditions demonstrated heightened negative affect, hostility, and irritability and reduced positive affect following the rejection. Contrary to hypotheses, participants in the self-compassion group did not demonstrate significantly different changes in positive affect, negative affect, shame, hostility, or irritability compared to participants in the control group. These results suggest that more intensive self-compassion interventions may be critical in future research on BPD and interpersonal difficulties.
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Thesis advisor: Chapman, Alexander
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