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Reduced Self-Referential Source Memory Performance is Associated with Interpersonal Dysfunction in Borderline Personality Disorder

Source memory is impaired in schizophrenia, and this deficit is related to symptoms of interpersonal antagonism such as suspiciousness and hostility. The present study evaluated source memory in borderline personality disorder (BPD) and its relation to interpersonal antagonism. Forty-one noninpatient adults with BPD according to the DSM-IV and 26 healthy control subjects performed a verbal source memory test requiring completion of sentences with and without emotional content (“Hot” vs. “Cold” sentences). Subjects also completed self-report measures of suspiciousness and interpersonal antagonism (Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory). The BPD group showed no significant difference from the control group in self-referential source memory, recognition memory, response bias, and performance enhancement for items with emotion content. However, in the BPD group, poorer self-referential source memory was significantly related to Hostility measures including suspiciousness, but not with Depression scores. In contrast, generic item recognition memory was unrelated to Hostility. Heterogeneity in source memory function may be specifically related to some of the hallmark interpersonal disturbances of BPD, independent of the effects of general negative affect or general memory impairment.