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Clin Psychol Psychother. 2009 Nov-Dec;16(6):467-78. doi: 10.1002/cpp.637.

Effectiveness of an emotion regulation group training for adolescents--a randomized controlled pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands.


Emotion Regulation Training (ERT) was developed for adolescents with symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and emotion dysregulation. ERT is an adaptation of the Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) programme. This paper describes the background of the programme, and gives an outline of the treatment programme. The effectiveness of ERT was examined in a randomized controlled pilot study with 43 youth (aged 14-19 years) in five mental health centres in the Netherlands. Subjects were assessed before and after random assignment to ERT plus treatment as usual (TAU) (n = 23) or to TAU alone (n = 20). Outcome measures included assessment of BPD symptoms, locus of control, and internalizing and externalizing behaviour. Both groups showed equal reductions in BPD symptoms over time. The group receiving ERT plus TAU (and not the TAU-only group) had a significant increase in internal locus of control: ERT participants reported more sense of control over their own mood swings, and attributed changes in mood swings not only to external factors. The study was complicated by a high attrition. The implications of the findings are discussed, including the difficulties inherent in treating and researching an adolescent population, and the need for researchers to develop age-appropriate assessments.

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