Neuropsychological functioning in patients with borderline personality disorder

June Sprock, Theresa J. Rader, Jeffrey P. Kendall, Carol Y. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Although results have been variable, studies suggest that individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) exhibit cognitive deficits suggestive of frontal- and temporal-lobe dysfunction. Patients diagnosed with BPD (n = 18) using two structured interviews, and who were carefully screened for neurological and substance-use disorders, were compared to depressed patients (n = 18) and a nonpsychiatric control group (n = 18) on a series of neuropsychological tasks. The role of emotion on cognitive functioning was assessed by including emotional stimuli and interference on several of the tasks. Little support was found for the neurobehavioral hypothesis of BPD. The BPD group performance did not differ from the normal group on most tasks of executive functioning or memory, and the introduction of emotional stimuli did not impair performance. The depressed group performed less effectively than the other groups. Reasons for variable findings and factors affecting the cognitive functioning of patients with BPD are discussed. There may be considerable heterogeneity in the cognitive functioning of BPD patients, with those exhibiting significant cognitive deficits comprising only a subgroup. (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1587-1600
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of clinical psychology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 27 2000


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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