A Comparison of Problem Solving, Working Memory, and Selective Attention Executive Functions in Patients with Bipolar II Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Non-clinical Samples

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Counseling, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ardakan University, Ardakan, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ardakan University, Ardakan, Iran

3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Persian Gulf University, Boushehr, Iran

4 Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran



Introduction: The distinction between Bipolar II Disorder (BD-II) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) due to symptom overlap has always been a challenging issue among psychiatrists. In the present study, problem-solving functions, working memory and selective attention were compared in BD-II patients, BPD and non-clinical samples to distinguish the two disorders.
Method: For this purpose, 30 BD-II patients, 30 BPD and 30 non-clinical sample were selected by convenience sampling method. They were evaluated using Executive Function (EFs) tests. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance and Tukey's post hoc test.
Results: Except for selective attention, which was not significantly different in BD-II patients compared to the non-clinical group (P>0/05); BD-II patients and BPD in all EFs had significantly lower performance than the non-clinical group (P<0/01, P<0/05). Problem solving ability was significantly lower in BD-II patients than in BPD patients (P<0/05). There was no significant difference between the two patient groups in working memory and selective attention (P>0/05).
Conclusion: These findings, provides evidence of differences in some of the EFs in BD-II patients and BPD; which may be related to different impulsivity in these two disorders. Therefore, conducting research in other dimensions of EFs is recommended to distinguish between these two disorders.


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