Borderline and neurotic children: What's the difference anyhow?

Simon Shimshon Rubin, Jessica Lippman, Myra Goldberg-Hier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empirical research on the presence and type of behavioral differences between borderline and neurotic children is presented. Following a summary of relevant psychodynamic conceptions of each classification, three hypotheses are outlined: that the groups can be differentiated behaviorally; that the borderline group has a greater degree of maladaptive behavior; and that the borderline group has specific disturbance in ego function, affect, and impulse control. Eleven neurotic and 10 borderline latency aged children were compared on demographic indices, intellectual measures, and a clinician-rated behavioral summary. The Rubin Goldberg-Hier Lippman (RGL) Degree of Disturbance Scale, assessing 11 dimensions of functioning, was utilized. Discriminant function analysis of the two groups' behavior was significant (p5.005). t tests were significant for a number of behavioral dimensions including ego function (p5.002); affect (p5.05); and attention (p5.05). The results of the study support the validity of the diagnostic discrimination with regard to behavioral as well as structural features of the disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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