Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Gene Ballard

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Morris

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Lowe


Psychotherapeutic efforts with borderline patients have been frustrated for many years because identification of the disorder has been vague, and because the etiology of the disorder has been unknown. Without adequate diagnosis and knowledge of the etiology, it has been impossible to design treatment strategies. The basis for undertaking this project centers on the amelioration of this basic diagnostic consideration.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory responses of 50 patients, 16 men and 34 women, meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 1980) criteria for a borderline personality disorder were compared to a mixed diagnostic group of 50 patients, 22 men and 28 women. The profiles were obtained from the outpatient and inpatient charts in a midwest community mental health center. The comparison of the two groups was made using univariate F tests and discriminate analysis.

Although the two groups produced similar profile patterning, the borderline patients showed a more elevated profile, with significantly higher elevation on seven of the ten clinical scales: four at the.01 significance level, schizophrenia, paranoia, psychopathic deviate, and psychasthenia, and three at the.05 level of significance, mania, social introversion, and hysteria. The MMPI profiles of the borderline patients suggest pathology in the form of impulsivity, unconventional thinking, poor interpersonal relationships, suspiciousness, problems with authority figures, and confusion.

The borderline patients also differed from the non-borderline patients on one of the three validity scales, scoring higher on the F scale, significant at the.01 level of significance.

The female borderline patients, as compared with the non-borderline female patients, showed significantly higher elevations on five of the ten clinical scales. The female borderline group showed a mean MMPI profile of 8-4-2. The male borderline patients, as compared with the non-borderline male patients, showed significantly higher elevations on two of the ten clinical scales. The male borderline group produced an 8-4 two-point code.

It can be concluded that borderline patients can be accurately discriminated from non-borderline patients by the use of the MMPI. The borderline patients show significantly elevated mean profiles and endorse items leading to a distinctive diagnostic codetype of 8-4-2.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access