Experiential avoidance and depression predict values engagement among people in treatment for borderline personality disorder

Publication Name

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science


Previous research identifies people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) place high levels of importance on values across a variety of life domains but have significantly lower levels of values commitment, desire to improve and success at living in line with what is valued. The current study aims to identify the factors impeding people's ability to engage more successfully with what is valued so that they can be more effectively targeted in treatment. In this study, participants were 106 consumers attending an outpatient clinic for BPD treatment. Participants completed a comprehensive assessment of values (Personal Values Questionnaire) as well as selfreport measures of experiential avoidance (Acceptance and Avoidance Questionnaire- 2), alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale) and symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21). Correlations demonstrated that depression, stress, difficulty identifying feelings and describing feelings and experiential avoidance were negatively associated with values engagement. However, regression analysis revealed that only depression and experiential avoidance significantly predicted values engagement after controlling for the other predictor variables in the model. Experiential avoidance and depressive symptomology are likely to be particularly important targets to improve values engagement in individuals seeking treatment for BPD.

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