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Impact of a modified Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment on coping methods and impulsiveness in female inmates

18 April 2008


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 and some clinicians have begun to implement modified Dialectical Behavior Therapy protocols (Coping Skills groups) with inmates. Little research is available on the effectiveness of this treatment in a correctional setting. In the current study, changes in impulsivity and coping ability of female inmates participating in Coping Skills groups were examined during the treatment period and compared to those in treatment-as-usual groups and those receiving no treatment. Data from all participants were collected at beginning, midpoint, and the end of the treatment periods. Between-group analyses suggested that changes in coping ability and levels of impulsiveness demonstrated by Coping Skills participants were not found to be significantly greater than such changes among comparison group participants. However, when examining within-group data across the treatment period, it was found that treatment group participants significantly improved coping abilities and lowered impulsiveness while changes within comparison group participants were not found to be significant.


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