Date of Thesis

Spring 2020


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is categorized by impairing emotional dysregulation and other difficulties, with traits being more common in females and emerging in adolescence (British Psychological Society, 2009). The mother-daughter relationship has been shown to relate to trait expression (Cheavans et al., 2005), and it is believed social cognition may be impaired in individuals with BPD (Preibler et al., 2010). The current study evaluated how BPD levels, emotion regulation, and social cognition interact within an individual, how similarity between mother and daughter relate to their perception of the relationship, and whether social cognition is a potential moderator between mother and daughter BPD traits and emotion regulation ability. Ninety-five mothers (ages M=45.05, SD=7.97) and daughters (ages M=15.91, SD= 1.4) completed online questionnaires. Mother and daughter frequency of maladaptive emotion regulation use was positively correlated to BPD traits in mothers (r=.75, N=95, pr=.64, N=95, pr=-2.73, N=95, p=.01). Mother and daughter perceived discord was positively correlated to BPD traits in mothers (r=.43, N=95, pr=.39, N=95, pr=.35, N=95, pr= .3, N=95, p< 0.05). Results suggest that emotion regulation and BPD traits are related, even in non-clinical samples. The mother-daughter relationship likely is influenced by and influences BPD traits, emotion regulation ability, and relationship quality, especially during the adolescent years. Future research should consider observational and experimental conditions to understand the directionality of these relationships.


borderline traits, BPD, mother-daughter dyads, emotion regulation, social cognition, perceived relationship quality

Access Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science



First Advisor

Anna Baker

Second Advisor

J.T. Ptacek

Third Advisor

Judith Grisel