Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Medical Science (MMSc)

First Advisor

Sarah Fineberg, MD, PhD


Borderline Personality Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by emotional dysregulation, increased impulsivity, and increased self-harm. Recently, a positive correlation has been made relating number of body modifications (such as piercings, tattoos, and scarification) and severity of disease. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is the first-line treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and has been found to significantly reduce engagement in another form of self-harming behavior (non-suicidal self-injury). However, the effects of Dialectical Behavior Therapy on body modification are not understood. In this randomized control study, we will compare the effects of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, pharmacotherapy, or non-treatment on the number of body modifications in participants with untreated Borderline Personality Disorder. Additionally, fMRI data will be obtained to better understand the neural mechanisms underlying engagement in body modification. This study will allow providers to better understand, recognize, and treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder who engage in frequent body modification.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access