Category: Treatment - DBT


The Impact Emotional Labeling on Emotion Regulation in BPD

Sunday, November 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Aqua Salon A & B, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) | Emotion Regulation | Translational Research
Presentation Type: Symposium

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) treatments teach emotion labeling as a skill to decrease emotional reactivity and facilitate emotion regulation. However, it’s unknown whether this skill accomplishes these goals differentially across diagnostic status, the type of emotion, and/or emotion regulation strategy. Method: 30 individuals with BPD and 30 healthy controls (HC) engaged in four experimental trials with three phases: baseline; an emotion induction with simultaneous labeling of either emotions or objects (control); and implementation of an emotion regulation strategy (mindfulness or cognitive reappraisal). Self-reported anger, sadness, and fear were assessed after each phase, with heart rate, skin conductance response, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia indices collected throughout. Data collection is in progress and full results will be presented at the convention. Results: Preliminary analyses of self-report and heart rate data suggest that HCs exhibit higher anger while labeling emotion compared to labeling objects (β = 10.04), while the reverse is true for individuals with BPD (β = -5.24), χ(1) = 4.01, = .05. Individuals with BPD also experience greater mindfulness effectiveness in reducing anger, but reduced reappraisal effectiveness, following labeling emotion compared to objects (β = -8.18 and 9.36, respectively), whereas labeling emotion facilitated both strategies in reducing anger for HCs, χ(1) = 5.15, = .02. Conversely, mindfulness was less effective following labeling emotions compared to objects in reducing heart rate for the BPD group (β = .88), but not the HC group (β = -.41), χ(1) = 8.35, = .004. Discussion: Preliminary findings indicate that the effectiveness of labeling emotion is contextual and dependent on diagnostic status, specific emotion, emotion index, and emotion regulation strategy type. Clinicians are advised to consider these factors, particularly when using mindfulness to target anger.


Skyler Fitzpatrick

Graduate Student
Ryerson University


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The Impact Emotional Labeling on Emotion Regulation in BPD

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