Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 129–143 | Cite as

Depressive Experiences in Inpatients with Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Kenneth N. Levy
  • William S. Edell
  • Thomas H. McGlashan
Original Paper


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.


Borderline personality disorder Depression Inpatient Young adults 



We wish to acknowledge the efforts of Diana Bowling, Kathleen E. Garnet, Pamela Harding, Steven Joy, Helen Sayward, Rachel Yehuda, and Kathy Zampano for diagnostic interviewing. We thank Adriana Gonzalez, Megan Elliot, Jennifer Hernandez, and Rachel Tomko for editorial assistance and John Kolligian, Jr. and Daniel F. Becker for their helpful comments to earlier drafts of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth N. Levy
    • 1
  • William S. Edell
    • 2
  • Thomas H. McGlashan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Yale University School of MedicineYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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