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 journalArticlepeer-review

33 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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