Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Frederick Gault

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul T. Mountjoy

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Richard Tsegaye-Spates

Fourth Advisor

Dr. William A. Ritchie


This study examined the predictive validity of the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (MAPI) (Millon, Green & Meagher, 1982) to evaluate Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescents. The hypothesis is that the MAPI tends to overdiagnose Borderline Personality Disorders. The origin of the term is placed first within the framework of psychoanalysis and its evolution through other theoretical constructs is then discussed. The concept of Borderline is surrounded by imprecise terminology which contributes to the confusion of a clinical diagnosis. While there is a movement in mental health to provide a more precise and behaviorally oriented description of this disorder, current explanations still fall short of an adequate and exclusive characterization. Diagnostic issues, and the fallacies surrounding them are reviewed. This study compares diagnoses generated by the automated interpretation of the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory and diagnoses generated by different clinicians. The clinicians include a psychiatrist, two psychologists, and two social workers. Correlations are drawn between diagnoses. The amount of agreements is minimal when comparing Borderline Personality Disorders. When these diagnoses are placed within larger diagnostic categories such as mood disorders, personality disorders, and others, the rate of accordance is greater. It is postulated that there may be a substantial difference in the way clinicians and the MAPI label Borderlines. This difference in criteria is most observable when comparing number of agreements and disagreements. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that compared to clinicians, the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory overdiagnoses Borderlines. The dangers of mislabeling an adolescent as Borderline are reviewed and the need for further research is emphasized.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons