Term of Award

Fall 2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Nick Holtzman


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic condition that warrants further empirical investigation. Considering the potentially lethal consequences and therapeutic challenges associated with features of BPD, it is important for researchers to explore pathways that will advance theory, assessment, and interventions that target BPD symptoms. One interactive theory that may predict variation in BPD symptoms is the cognitive-vulnerability model. Examining the cognitive vulnerability model in the context of BPD symptoms is the overall goal of the dissertation project. Specifically, the current study examined the mediator effects of maladaptive schemas on the adverse event-BPD symptom relationship. Four hundred and fifteen undergraduate students completed demographic information and three surveys online. Results indicated that both disconnection/rejection schemas and impaired limits schemas partially mediated the relationship between negative life events and borderline personality features. Further, contrast effects revealed that disconnection/rejection schemas were the better suited mediator for the model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.