Experiential avoidance differences in adolescents with borderline personality disorder: comparison with psychiatric and healthy controls
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Experiential avoidance (EA) refers to the “unwillingness to remain in contact with uncomfortable private events by escaping or avoiding these experiences” (Hayes et al., 1996). In particular, EA seems to be linked to BPD. Recent studies have shown that borderline personality disorder (BPD) in adolescence is a valid diagnosis (Miller, Muehlenkamp, Jacobson, 2008; Sharp, Romero, 2007). BPD is defined as serious psychiatric disorder characterized by impulsivity, instability in mood and identity, and impaired personal relationships (APA, 2000; APA, 2013). To our knowledge, this was the first study to examine EA in adolescents with BPD to psychiatric control adolescents and healthy controls simultaneously and to examine the unique association between BPD and EA over and above internalizing and externalizing problems. Results found that adolescents with BPD reported higher levels of experiential avoidance than the psychiatric and healthy control groups. In addition, results showed that BPD symptoms were uniquely related to experiential avoidance over and above the association between EA and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Results suggest that EA is a crosscutting psychological factor but has specific associations with BPD over and above internalizing and externalizing problems.