Emotional regulation, adult attachment and splitting cognitions

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kimberly Son Nyo Matsui Keating (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Bruce Henderson

Abstract: This thesis chose to explore Borderline Personality disorder from a dimensional perspective. Adult attachment, emotional dysregulation, and splitting cognitions are identified as key variables on the Borderline Personality dimension. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between splitting, adult attachment style, and emotional dysregulation. The hypotheses are that people with a high level of splitting cognitions will have a higher likelihood of anxious attachment and a higher level of emotional dysregulation. While people with avoidant attachment will have a lower level of splitting cognitions with regard to self and family but higher levels of splitting pertaining to others. It is also hypothesized that avoidantly attached people will have lower levels of emotional dysregulation on the factors of an inability to engage in goal directed behavior and difficulty controlling impulsive behavior but higher levels on factors of limited availability to emotional regulation strategies, lack of emotional awareness, lack of emotional clarity, and non-acceptance of negative emotions. This study asked 100 female undergraduates to answer three questionnaires examining their use of splitting cognitions, adult attachment style, and ability to regulate negative emotional states. As hypothesized, results show that anxious attachment in adult females has a significant positive correlation with splitting cognitions of self, family, and others. Anxious attachment has a significant positive correlation with all factors of emotional dysregulation. The relationship between avoidant attachment and splitting cognition of others was found to be significant in the negative direction with splitting cognitions of others. The study results also show that the relationship between avoidant attachment was significantly negatively correlated with the lack of emotional awareness. Avoidant attachment and inability to engage in goal directed behavior was also significant in the positive direction. We successfully predicted that splitting cognitions of the self significantly correlated with all factors of the emotional dysregulation scale. Although subjects who engaged in self splitting significantly engaged in all emotional dysregulation factors, these subjects were more likely to have difficulties with the non-acceptance of negative emotions, access to emotional regulation coping strategies and identifying specific emotions. Splitting cognitions of the family and of others was found to be significant in the positive direction in all factors of emotional dysregulation except in the factor of the inability to engage in goal directed behaviors. These findings provide evidence for the dimensionality of key characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder in a nonclinical population.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Adult Attachment, Boderline Personality Disorder, Dimensionalization of disorders, emotional dysregulation, Splitting cognitons
Borderline personality disorder