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26-03-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2018

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2018

Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and Eating Disorders Comorbidity: A Pilot Study in a Naturalistic Setting

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2018
Maria V. Navarro-Haro, Cristina Botella, Verónica Guillen, Reyes Moliner, Heliodoro Marco, Mercedes Jorquera, Rosa Baños, Azucena Garcia-Palacios


Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has been shown to be successful in the treatment of borderline personality disorder and eating disorders separately. The present study compares Standard Dialectical Behavior Therapy with a Treatment as Usual Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TAU CBT) for the treatment of borderline personality disorder and eating disorders comorbid features. A total of 118 women diagnosed with borderline personality disorders and eating disorders were assigned to one of two treatment groups in a naturalistic setting (DBT = 71; TAU CBT = 47). DBT showed a greater decrease in dysfunctional behaviors used to regulate emotions and related to borderline personality disorder (i.e. substance abuse, impulsive money spending, unprotected sex, etc.), non-suicidal self-injuries, and depressive symptoms, as well as an increase in cognitive reappraisal and global functioning. DBT and TAU CBT showed similar improvements in suicide attempts, dysfunctional eating behaviors (i.e. binge eating, purgative behaviors, and restriction), hospitalizations, negative and positive affect, and expressive suppression. Results of this study support the utility and effectiveness of standard DBT for comorbid borderline personality disorder and eating disorders in naturalistic settings. Replications of this study and randomized controlled trials are needed.

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