A Rorschach exploration of the DSM-IV Borderline Personality Disorder

Mark A. Blais, Mark J. Hilsenroth, James Chris Fowler, Cathy A. Conboy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Rorschach data has been useful in identifying the DSM Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and has potential for improving our understanding of this disorder. Recently, the DSM-IV BPD has been shown to be composed of 3 primary or core factors: Factor I-unstable self-other images, Factor II- deficits in affect and thought modulation, and Factor III-impulsive self- damaging actions. In a sample of outpatients with personality disorders, we explored the relationships among 6 psychoanalytically derived Rorschach scales (primitive aggression, oral dependency, self-other differentiation, splitting, devaluation, and projective identification), and the core BPD features. Significant correlations were found between 5 of the Rorschach variables and BPD total scores. Correlations between these 5 variables and the BPD core features showed that oral dependency needs were negatively associated with all 3 BPD core features, whereas the defenses of devaluation and splitting were positively associated with these core features. The clinical implications of these findings are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology

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