Appeal of Four Psychotherapies for Borderline Personality Disorder

Open Access
Mccarrick, Shannon Marjorie
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kenneth Levy, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kenneth Levy, Honors Advisor
  • Peter Andrew Arnett, Faculty Reader
  • borderline
  • psychotherapy
  • treatment
  • expectations
  • credibility
  • preferences
There is accumulating evidence that some treatments, despite diverse underlying constructs, result in similar outcomes. Patient preference can serve as a central determinant for recommending a specific treatment because when patients are assigned to the type of psychotherapy they prefer, they typically experience better outcomes. However, there is some debate regarding which aspects of different treatment methods are most appealing to clients, specifically regarding whether clients will choose treatments based on whether or not empirical evidence supports their effectiveness. Participants were presented with vignettes describing the four most common treatments for borderline personality disorder (BPD) and asked which treatment they found most appealing using widely accepted dimensional measures of treatment credibility, acceptability, and preferences. It was hypothesized that participants would demonstrate preference for a therapy that is described as empirically supported because treatments that have proven most effective for treating BPD are desirable for those seeking treatment. Participants were randomized into one of five conditions, four in which one of the therapies was described as most effective based on research findings and one in which the treatments are described as having equal efficacy. Data was analyzed using one-way analyses of variance (ANOVA). Results show that when the four treatments were presented as having equal empirical support, DBT rated significantly higher than the other treatments for expectations and MBT rated significantly higher for credibility. When one treatment was isolated as having the most empirical support of the four, only TFP was rated significantly higher for credibility than when it was presented as having less empirical support than another treatment. Findings are discussed based on clinical, theoretical, research, and practical implications.