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Thesis

Impulsivity and coping skills of female inmates in dialectical behavior therapy

9 December 2005

Abstract

Dialectical Behavior Therapy was designed as a treatment for borderline personality disorder and has been shown to be effective for individuals with this diagnosis in community mental health and psychiatric settings. Research has shown that borderline personality disorder is prevalent among incarcerated women. Some forensic clinicians have begun to implement modified Dialectical Behavior Therapy protocols with inmates, but little research is available on the effectiveness of this treatment in a forensic setting. In the current study, impulsivity and coping ability of female inmates were examined prior to and 10 weeks into treatment. Impulsivity and coping scores both appeared to lower, indicating that whereas impulsivity decreased, self-reported coping ability also decreased. However, changes were not significant. It is likely that over a longer period inmates would exhibit significantly lessened impulsive behaviors, and effects on coping patterns would become clearer.


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