Borderline personality disorder and deliberate self-harm: does experiential avoidance play a role?

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2005 Aug;35(4):388-99. doi: 10.1521/suli.2005.35.4.388.


The theory that borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with experiential avoidance, and that experiential avoidance mediates the association between BPD and deliberate, nonsuicidal self-harm was examined. Female inmate participants (N = 105) were given structured diagnostic assessments of BPD, as well as several measures of experiential avoidance. There was a high lifetime prevalence of past self-harm (47.6%). Higher dimensional scores representing BPD severity were associated with higher self-harm frequency and greater experiential avoidance. Structural equation modeling analyses indicated that experiential avoidance did not mediate the association between BPD and self-harm, although thought suppression was associated with self-harm frequency.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / complications*
  • Escape Reaction*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / complications*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires