Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Impulsivity was examined in a subclinical sample of college students with borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits. Using the Borderline Personality Questionnaire (BPQ; Poreh et al. , 2006) participants were screened for high and low BPD traits. Twenty-six high-BPD and twenty-four low-BPD participants were compared on impulsivity. Impulsivity was assessed using a self-report measure (BIS- 1 1 ; Patton, Stanford & Barratt, 1 995) and three laboratory tasks, the Go Stop Impulsivity Paradigm (Dougherty, Mathias, & Marsh, 2003 ), a delay discounting task (Dixon, Jacobs, & Sanders, 2006) with monetary incentives and a delay discounting task with social incentives. Past research has shown that high- and low-BPD individuals do not discount monetary rewards differently (Dom, De Wilde, Hulstijn, Van Den Brink, & Sabbe, 2006). The present study replicated these results. In addition, the present research hypothesized that high-BPD individuals would discount social rewards more steeply. Results, however, showed no differences between groups in social discounting, nor did high-BPD individuals discount social rewards at a significantly greater rate than monetary rewards, as was expected. Still, there was a significant main effect, showing that, overall, participants discounted social rewards more steeply than monetary rewards. Contrary to what was expected, there was no difference between groups on the Go Stop Impulsivity Paradigm. Results did confirm the hypothesis that high-BPD participants were more impulsive than low-BPD participants on the BIS- 11. These results suggest that the two groups differ on impulsivity according to self-report measures, but that delay discounting does not discriminate between groups regardless of the reinforcer.


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