To date, more than 30 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) – the gold standard for health intervention research – produced by nearly 20 independent research groups in nine countries have demonstrated the effectiveness of DBT.
Meta-analyses of this extensive research have found moderate to large significant effects indicating DBT is more effective than treatment as usual in reducing suicide attempts, non-suicidal self-injury, and anger, and improving general functioning among people with borderline personality disorder (Stoffers et al., 2012; Kliem et al., 2010).
In a particularly striking set of findings, DBT decreased suicide attempts by 50% and psychiatric hospitalizations for suicidality by 73% when compared to community treatment by non-behavioral experts (Linehan et al., 2006). The available research suggests that DBT is comparably effective as other comprehensive psychotherapies for BPD. Overall, DBT has been designated as an empirically supported treatment with strong research support for treating BPD (American Psychological Association, Division 12).
Time Magazine even named DBT one of the top 100 new scientific discoveries in 2011 for its impact on people with difficult-to-treat disorders.
A 2012 Cochrane review found that DBT is the only treatment with sufficient research to conclude it is effective for people with borderline personality disorder.
DBT is designated as having “Strong Research Support” for borderline personality disorder by Division 12 of the American Psychological Association.