Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Yaroslavsky, Ilya

Subject Headings



The present study explored the role of parental physiological state and parental emotion regulation (ER) deficits on the relationship between parent borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms and child BPD symptoms. Participants were 110 adolescents aged 11-13 years and their legal guardians who completed measures of BPD symptom severity and emotion dysregulation before engaging in an interpersonal conflict discussion task while being monitored for peripheral psychophysiological signals (i.e., respiratory sinus arrhythmia; RSA). Multiple mediation analyses were conducted to examine the model proposed in this study. The results revealed that parent BPD symptoms predicted lower parent baseline RSA at trend level, but was not predictive of RSA reactivity. Parent RSA did not predict parent ER deficits or child BPD symptoms. However, parental BPD symptoms predict increased parent ER deficits which, in turn, predict greater child BPD symptoms. These findings suggest that the transmission of BPD from parent to child may be in part due to the ER strategies at use during parenting and not merely the existence of the disorder itself.