The utility of projective instruments in identifying depression in aggressive children

Samantha Wesley Kohn, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated whether specific indices from the Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), and Human Figure Drawing (HFD) that purport to measure depression and aggression can discriminate between aggressive children who were identified as depressed and aggressive children who were not. The indices used in the study were the Rorschach Comprehensive System Depression Index (DEPI) and Aggressive Movement Score (AG), the TAT Manifest Content Analysis and Hostility Scale, and indicators from the HFD that literature supported as signifying aggression and depression. The study also evaluated whether convergent validity existed between the projective indices. ^ This study used an existing database of records from a clinical sample of 90 children who received inpatient, day treatment, or outpatient psychiatric services at a state psychiatric facility. The subjects were identified as depressed based on both a formal diagnosis indicating depression and a review of their clinical notes for symptoms of depression. Each projective assessment technique was scored using the indices stated above for indications of both aggression and depression. ^ Results of logistic regression and simultaneous multiple regression analyses revealed that the projective indices evaluated were not able to discriminate between aggressive children who were identified as depressed and those who were not as indicated by both a formal diagnosis and frequency of symptoms. Further, results from Spearman's rho correlations demonstrated only 1 significant relationship between the TAT Hostility Scale and the Rorschach AG score. No other significant relationships were found among the projective indices. ^ The findings suggest that caution should be exercised in the use of these instruments for identifying depression in an aggressive population of children. The results are consistent with the prevailing thinking held by the scientific community regarding the use of projective instruments. There is need for continued research on specific scales and scoring systems as well as the utility of projective instruments in an idiographic context. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Personality|Psychology, Psychometrics

Recommended Citation

Samantha Wesley Kohn, "The utility of projective instruments in identifying depression in aggressive children" (January 1, 2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3056142.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3056142

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