Depressive experiences in inpatients with borderline personality disorder

Kenneth N. Levy, William S. Edell, Thomas H. McGlashan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


We investigate the quality of dependent and self-critical depressive experiences in a hospitalized sample of depressed (n = 17), depressed borderline (n = 29), and borderline non-depressed inpatients (n = 10). Subjects were administered structured diagnostic interviews for axis I and axis II along with the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised Depression Scale (SCL-90-R-DS) and the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (DEQ). As predicted, there were no differences between the three groups in overall level of impairment or severity of depression. Phenomenologically, however, depressive experiences were quite different. Subjects with borderline personality disorder, with and without a diagnosed depressive disorder, scored higher than subjects with depression only on the measure of anaclitic neediness. Further analyses revealed that anaclitic neediness was significantly associated with interpersonal distress, self-destructive behaviors, and impulsivity. Findings suggest the importance of considering phenomenological aspects of depression in borderline pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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