Verbal memory dysfunction in depressed outpatients with and without borderline personality disorder Academic Article uri icon


  • This study contrasts memory functions with emotional words between two groups of patients presenting with symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) - 20 patients with a comorbid diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and 20 patients without BPD - and a group of 20 community adult controls. BPD patients showed poorer recall and recognition memory performances than controls, while MDD patients and controls did not differ significantly on these tasks. BPD patients showed a lower accuracy of recognition memory than MDD patients, despite negligible differences between the two patient groups in the severity of depressive symptoms and in the general level of psychopathology. Controls and BPD patients showed positive word selectivity in recall, while MDD patients showed nonsignificant selectivity differences. These findings provide additional data regarding memory disturbances specific to MDD versus BPD. The selectivity differences are consistent with theories of mood-congruent memory in depression and may serve as a cognitive marker for differentiating BPD from prototypical MDD.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kurtz, J. E., & Morey, L. C.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Kurtz, JE||Morey, LC

publication date

  • June 1999