Borderline intellectual functioning

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Borderline intellectual functioning
Other namesBorderline mental retardation,[1] borderline mental subnormality,[1] borderline mental deficiency,[1] borderline mental disability, borderline intelligence,[1] deficientia intelligentiæ,[1] backwardness[1]

Borderline intellectual functioning, also called borderline mental retardation (in the ICD-8),[1] is a categorization of intelligence wherein a person has below average cognitive ability (generally an IQ of 70–85),[2] but the deficit is not as severe as intellectual disability (below 70). It is sometimes called below average IQ (BAIQ). This is technically a cognitive impairment; however, this group may not be sufficiently mentally disabled to be eligible for specialized services.[3]


The DSM-IV-TR code of borderline intellectual functioning is V62.89.[4] DSM-5 diagnosis codes are V62.89 and R41.83.[5]

Learning skills[edit]

During school years, individuals with borderline intellectual functioning are often "slow learners."[3] Although a large percentage of this group fails to complete high school and can often achieve only a low socioeconomic status, most adults in this group blend in with the rest of the population.[3]

Differential diagnosis[edit]

According to the DSM-5, differentiating borderline intellectual functioning and mild intellectual disability requires careful assessment of adaptive and intellectual functions and their variations, especially in the presence of co-morbid psychiatric disorders that may affect patient compliance with standardized test (for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with severe impulsivity or schizophrenia).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Manual of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injures, and Causes of Death (PDF). Vol. 1. Geneva: World Health Organization. 1967. p. 154.
  2. ^ TP Alloway (May 2010). "Working memory and executive function profiles of individuals with borderline intellectual functioning". 54 (5): 448–56. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2010.01281.x. PMID 20537050. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b c The Best Test Preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination in Psychology, Research & Education Association. (2003), p. 99
  4. ^ Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. 2000. ISBN 0-89042-025-4.
  5. ^ a b American Psychiatric Association (2013). "Other Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention". Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. p. 727. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596. ISBN 978-0-89042-559-6.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gillberg, Christopher (1995). Clinical child neuropsychiatry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-521-54335-5.
  • Harris, James C. (2006). Intellectual disability : understanding its development, causes, classification, evaluation, and treatment. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517885-8.