Neurocognitive Functioning In Borderline Personality Disorder Patients

Open Access
Fox, Jennifer Lynne
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kenneth Levy, Thesis Supervisor
  • Cynthia Huang Pollock, Honors Advisor
  • Borderline personality disorder; Neurocognition; Wisconsin card
Past studies have found that executive dysfunction and impulsivity are two main features of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD; Fertuck et al., 2006). Thus, clinical observations of BPD may be correlated to deficits in neuropsychological processes. This study sought to examine neurocognitive dysfunction in BPD participants compared with healthy controls. Participants were 48 clinically referred individuals reliably diagnosed with BPD and 31 matched healthy controls (HC) recruited from a university participant pool. After the initial diagnostic assessment participants completed the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) - a measure of executive function. Independent t-tests and ANCOVA analysis were conducted to examine differences between BPD individuals and HC on the WCST. Those with BPD as compared with HC evidenced significantly greater number of errors, especially perseverative errors, as well as significantly less completed sets and less improvement throughout trials. Those with BPD evidenced a greater number of non-perseverative errors, and more failure to maintain sets –albeit at a trend levels. These findings suggest possible neurocognitive dysfunction in those with BPD. Future research should establish the reliability and specificity of these findings. If replicated, additional research should examine the mechanisms underlying these deficits as well as methods for remediation.