Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Yaroslavsky, Ilya

Subject Headings

Clinical Psychology


The high prevalence of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) combined with a need to improve treatment efficacy produced a demand for the identification of how various risk factors are more likely to exacerbate BPD symptoms. While emotion dysregulation and interpersonal difficulties are known maladies of BPD, the goal of the present research was to examine their influence on rumination processes, thereby allowing therapeutic providers to facilitate treatment by honing in on specific stressors that are more likely to exacerbate symptoms due to initiating a ruminative response. A sample of 127 participants, 21 of whom endorsed clinical levels of BPD symptoms, were exposed to three conditions hypothesized to induce a ruminative response: listening to sad music, watching a sad film, and a social exclusion task where participants were gradually ostracized during a game of Cyberball. The first hypothesis was partially supported, as state rumination emerged as a significant predictor of post-music and post-film negative affect, while BPD traits emerged as the significant predictor of only post-Cyberball negative affect. The second hypothesis was partially supported, as significant differences in state rumination levels were not found when comparing the sad film and sad music conditions, however were found when comparing the Cyberball condition. The third hypothesis was supported, as emotion dysregulation was predictive of rumination tendencies across all tasks.