Effects of mindfulness training on different components of impulsivity in borderline personality disorder: results from a pilot randomized study

Joaquim Soler, Matilde Elices, Juan C. Pascual, Ana Martín-Blanco, Albert Feliu-Soler, Cristina Carmona and Maria J. Portella. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation (2016) 3:1

Background: Impulsivity is considered a core characteristic of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Previous research on the effects of mindfulness training (MT) has shown that it might modify impulsivity-related aspects of BPD. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the impact of MT on various facets of impulsivity in BPD patients. Methods: Subjects with BPD diagnosis (n = 64) were randomly assigned to 10 weeks of MT (n = 32) or interpersonal effectiveness skills training (IE; n = 32). All participants were assessed pre- and post-intervention with a self-reported measure of impulsivity and five behavioral neuropsychological tasks to evaluate response inhibition, tolerance for delay rewards, and time perception. Results: An interaction effect of time × group was only observed for some of the behavioral paradigms used. Participants in the MT group improved their ability to delay gratification and showed changes in time perception, consistent with a decrease in impulsivity. No differences were observed between treatments in terms of trait impulsivity and response inhibition. Conclusions: Mindfulness training might improve some aspects of impulsivity but not others. Further study is warranted to better determine the effects of mindfulness training on the components of impulsivity. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02397031.

Keywords: Borderline personality disorder, Mindfulness, Impulsivity, Time perception, Delayed reward, Response inhibition