Psychology, Professional


Fall 11-23-2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kurt M. Gehlert

Second Advisor

Salina Renninger

Third Advisor

Anna Bohlinger


The purpose of this study was to investigate attitudes individual therapists held toward clients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), as well as, to explore whether therapist attachment style or training discipline influenced the therapist’s attitudes. Participants were exposed to one of two vignettes, one of which presented a client with Major Depressive Disorder, the other of which presented a client with BPD. Participants then shared their attitudes toward working with the client presented. Data was analyzed using multiple linear regression to understand the influences of the attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, and therapeutic discipline on the observed differences in the therapist attitude toward the client. Results revealed increased attachment avoidance had a small significant (p = 0.025) negative effect on therapists’ attitudes toward a client with BPD. Attachment anxiety, and therapeutic discipline did not show significant influences on therapist attitudes. In all of the regression models, which vignette the participant was exposed to led to significant results, demonstrating therapists held less positive attitudes toward working with individuals with BPD (p < 0.000.) Standardized beta values revealed the most significant predictor of therapist attitude was the vignette they were exposed to. This research contributes to the lack of understanding about therapist attitudes toward individuals with BPD, and what factors might influence those attitudes. This has implications for practice and training, including a call for therapists to understand the attitudes they have toward individuals with BPD and be open to addressing those attitudes through introspection and supervision to be more effective in therapy with clients who present with this symptom cluster.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.