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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2009 May;119(5):383-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01323.x. Epub 2008 Dec 22.

Pathological dissociation and neuropsychological functioning in borderline personality disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Sørlandet Hospital HF, Kristiansand, Norway.



Transient, stress-related severe dissociative symptoms or paranoid ideation is one of the criteria defining the borderline personality disorder (BPD). Examinations of the neuropsychological correlates of BPD reveal various findings. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between dissociation and neuropsychological functioning in patients with BPD.


The performance on an extensive neuropsychological battery of patients with BPD with (n=10) and without (n=20) pathological dissociation was compared with that of healthy controls (n=30).


Patients with pathological dissociation were found to have reduced functioning on every neuropsychological domain when compared with healthy controls. Patients without pathological dissociation were found to have reduced executive functioning, but no other differences were found.


Pathological dissociation is a clinical variable that differentiates patients with BPD with regard to cognitive functioning.

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