Neuropsychological impairment in borderline personality disorder

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2004 Mar;27(1):67-82, viii-ix. doi: 10.1016/S0193-953X(03)00109-6.


In spite of accumulating evidence from neurological, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and, more recently, developmental studies, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is not considered routinely a neurocognitive disorder. A review of the neuropsychological literature shows that the preponderance of BPD studies failed to examine a broad range of cognitive domains and, in particular, have not adequately evaluated attention. Nevertheless, most neuropsychological studies suggest that these patients' cognitive skills are compromised. The authors administered a neuropsychological battery designed to evaluate nine cognitive domains in twelve female inpatients diagnosed with BPD. Relative to a healthy normative group, inpatients with BPD were impaired in seven cognitive domains, with attention-vigilance and verbal learning and memory most pronounced. Neuropsychological performance was significantly related to degree of psychopathology. The authors recommend that clinicians routinely screen BPD patients for cognitive dysfunction and highlight the roles that this important knowledge can have in treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests