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Emotional Cascades and Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)  is a chronic and severe disorder with symptoms including stormy interpersonal relationships, emotions that are constantly fluctuating, and frequent dysregulated behaviors including suicidal and self-injurious behaviors (DSM-5, 2013). In the Emotional Cascade Model, it is posited that BPD is a disorder where the core psychopathology results from emotional cascades, which occur more frequently and perhaps more intensely than in other disorders exhibiting behavioral dysregulation (i.e., substance use disorders, eating disorders).  In this sense, BPD may be viewed as the extreme continuum of emotional cascades, whereas other disorders may be closer toward the center of this spectrum.  The EmP lab has conducted several studies suggesting that emotional cascades may be an important mechanism in the development of BPD, and this research is now helping inform the ways we treat BPD. More recent work has involved investigating BPD and emotional cascades using Bayesian and complex dynamic systems approaches, as well as developing smartphone-based intervention apps for treating emotion dysregulation and BPD symptoms.


Selected Publications


Selby, E. A., Kondratyuk, S., Lindqvist, J., Fehling, K., & Kranzler, A. (2021). Temporal Bayesian Network modeling approach to evaluating the emotional cascade model of borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 12(1), 39.


King, A. M., Rizvi, S. L., & Selby, E. A. (2019). Emotional experiences of clients with borderline personality disorder in dialectical behavior therapy: An empirical investigation of in-session affect. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 10(5), 468.


Selby, E. A., Fehling, K. B., Panza, E. A., & Kranzler, A. (2016). Rumination, mindfulness, and borderline personality disorder symptoms. Mindfulness, 7(1), 228-235.


Martino, F., Caselli, G., Berardi, D., Fiore, F., Marino, E., Menchetti, M., ... & Sassaroli, S. (2015). Anger rumination and aggressive behaviour in borderline personality disorder. Personality and mental health, 9(4), 277-287.


Selby, E. A., & Joiner Jr, T. E. (2013). Emotional cascades as prospective predictors of dysregulated behaviors in borderline personality disorder. Personality disorders: Theory, research, and treatment, 4(2), 168.


Selby, E. A. (2013). Chronic sleep disturbances and borderline personality disorder symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(5), 941.


Selby, E. A., Ward, A. C., & Joiner Jr, T. E. (2010). Dysregulated eating behaviors in borderline personality disorder: Are rejection sensitivity and emotion dysregulation linking mechanisms?. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 43(7), 667-670.


Selby, E. A., & Joiner Jr, T. E. (2009). Cascades of emotion: The emergence of borderline personality disorder from emotional and behavioral dysregulation. Review of General Psychology, 13(3), 219-229.


Selby, E. A., Anestis, M. D., Bender, T. W., & Joiner Jr, T. E. (2009). An exploration of the emotional cascade model in borderline personality disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118(2), 375.


Selby, E. A., Braithwaite, S. R., Joiner Jr, T. E., & Fincham, F. D. (2008). Features of borderline personality disorder, perceived childhood emotional invalidation, and dysfunction within current romantic relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(6), 885.


Selby, E. A., & Joiner Jr, T. E. (2008). Ethnic variations in the structure of borderline personality disorder symptomatology. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43(2), 115-123.

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