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University of Iowa News Release

June 11, 2003

UI Borderline Personality Disorder Study Seeks Participants

People with borderline personality disorder are invited to participate in a University of Iowa Health Care study on the effectiveness of a new cognitive therapy group treatment that supplements standard care. The treatment, known as Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem-Solving (STEPPS), focuses on making connections between how a person thinks and their feelings and behaviors so that they can improve emotion regulation and lifestyle behaviors.

Eligible participants must be age 18 or older and formally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. In addition, participants must not have participated in STEPPS (or attended only three or fewer sessions of a previous STEPPS group). Participants also must identify one mental health professional and one friend or relative who will be willing to rate the participant's progress during the study.

Qualifying participants randomly will be assigned to either STEPPS or a control group, which receives only usual treatment. All participants will be interviewed and asked to fill out a questionnaire at the first appointment and at monthly intervals during the five-month study period.

Those individuals participating in the STEPPS treatment group will meet weekly for two hours during the five-month study period and also will be assessed periodically for one year after completing STEPPS.

Compensation will be provided. Individuals who are assigned to the control group for the duration of the study will be given the opportunity to attend a future STEPPS session at no cost.

The study is led by Donald W. Black, M.D, UI professor of psychiatry.

For more information, contact Nancee Blum, UI social work specialist in psychiatry and study co-investigator, at 319-353-4393 or

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

CONTACT: Media: Becky Soglin (writer), 319-335-6660, Study Participants: Nancee Blum (study co-investigator), 319-353-4393,

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Background on the UI STEPPS study is available online at Please note that the contact name for that release, Becky Soglin, is only for media. Prospective participants should contact Nancee Blum at the telephone number or e-mail address listed above.