Borderline personality disorder symptoms in college students: The complex interplay between alexithymia, emotional dysregulation and rumination

Rebecca Meaney, Penelope Hasking, Andrea Reupert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Both Emotional Cascade Theory and Linehan's Biosocial Theory suggest dysregulated behaviors associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) emerge, in part, because of cycles of rumination, poor emotional recognition and poor emotion regulation. In this study we examined relationships between rumination, alexithymia, and emotion regulation in predicting dysregulated behaviors associated with BPD (e.g. self-harm, substance use, aggression), and explored both indirect and moderating effects among these variables. The sample comprised 2261 college students who completed self-report measures of the aforementioned constructs. BPD symptoms, stress, family psychological illness, and alexithymia exerted direct effects on behaviors. Symptoms had an indirect effect on behaviors through rumination, alexithymia and emotional dysregulation. In addition, the relationship between symptoms and dysregulated behaviors was conditional on level of rumination and alexithymia. Implications for early identification and treatment of BPD and related behaviors in college settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0157294
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Cite this