Date of Conferral







Thomas Russo


The goals of this study were threefold: (1) to identify what percentage of psychologists and clinical social workers disclose the diagnostic label BPD to their patients, (2) to identify factors that influence disclosure, and (3) to gather data about the choice to disclose or not to disclose. The MUM effect was used as the theoretical framework. A sequential explanatory mixed methods design including an online survey was used during the first phase. A total of 125 psychologists and 45 social workers participated in the Phase 1 of the study. The majority of participants stated that they either always or usually disclose diagnostic information. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to predict if there was a significant relationship between the independent variables concerns for self, concerns for the patient, societal norms, gender of the professional, professional occupation, theoretical orientation, and frequency of working with individuals diagnosed with BPD and the dependent variable disclosure. The results indicated a significant relationship between societal norms, gender of the professional, and frequency of working with individuals diagnosed with BPD and disclosure. Telephone interviews were conducted during Phase 2 of the study with a subset of the original sample and included 13 psychologists. The data were analyzed using content analysis with an emphasis on constant comparison. The results demonstrated that, of the 13 psychologists, concerns for the patient, concerns for self, and societal norms impact disclosure. Participants also expressed concerns about the stigma of the diagnosis and disclosure leading to defensiveness or negatively impacting the therapeutic relationship. This study may stimulate future research into disclosure and will inform the efforts of mental health workers in their efforts to establish more transparency and trust in their practices.