[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 8, 1968

The Borderline Syndrome: A Behavioral Study of Ego-Functions

JAMA. 1968;205(2):118. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140280072032

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The term "borderline syndrome," although not part of the official American Psychiatric Association nomenclature, has been used extensively in psychiatric circles interested in intensive psychotherapy, to designate a group of basically nonpsychotic individuals whose prognosis with this kind of treatment is problematic at best. The diagnosis is made on the basis of interactions which indicate that the patient will have the same difficulty relating to the therapist as he has had to other people in his past life and that he will not readily accept the therapist's help on his inner problems.

The authors' findings are based on observations made by staff personnel, particularly by nurses and aides, on 51 patients who displayed many of the traits that have been attributed to borderline personalities. The patients were generally admitted because of florid attention-provoking histrionic episodes but they manifested good psychological functioning in the hospital. They were accessible, appropriate, and revealed