Award Abstracts

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2014 Psychodiagnostics Award for Research in Psychological Assessment

Bram, Anthony D. (2014) Object relations, interpersonal functioning, and health in a nonclinical sample: Construct validation and norms for the TAT SCORS-G. Psychoanalytic Psychology, Vol 31(3), 314-342. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036286

Abstract

Applying the Social Cognition and Object Relations Scale-Global (SCORS-G; Stein, Hilsenroth, Slavin-Mumford, & Pinsker, 2011; Westen, 1995) rating method to Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; Murray, 1943) narratives, this study of undergraduates aimed to (a) assess the component structure and construct validity of the SCORS-G in a nonclinical sample and (b) contribute to the development of a set of norms to guide clinical interpretation of this method. A 2-component solution for the SCORS-G entailed cognitive and affective components. Support for construct validity came from known-groups analyses in which this nonclinical sample was healthier on all 8 scales of the SCORS-G compared with a composite of previously published clinical samples. The cognitive scales (complexity of representations of people, understanding of social causality) were particularly strong in differentiating between the nonclinical and clinical groups. Additionally, in the overall sample the affective component of the SCORS-G was positively, significantly, and meaningfully related to a self-report measure of interpersonal functioning. This association was stronger among male participants; among females, the affective component was more strongly and negatively correlated with self-reported physical symptoms. Unexpectedly, the affective component did not correlate with a self-report measure of mental health, but its correlation with a performance-based measure of mental health involved a small effect in the predicted direction. Addressing a gap in the literature, this study also contributes a set of nonclinical norms that can be used to guide clinical interpretation of the TAT SCORS-G with some patients. Theoretical and clinical implications, as well as limitations, are discussed.

2012 Psychodiagnostics Award for Research in Psychological Assessment

Su, Wen-So (2012). Cultural and linguistic adaptability of the Rorschach Performance Assessment System as a measure of schizophrenia spectrum symptomatology and severity of mental disturbance in Taiwan. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant University, San Diego, CA.

Abstract

This study investigated the cultural and linguistic adaptability of the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R–PAS), a new Rorschach system designed to solve problems in the Comprehensive System (CS) as well as to incorporate research outside the CS. This investigation addressed such adaptability by testing whether the R–PAS measures of schizophrenia spectrum symptomatology and severity of mental disturbance (Thought and Perception Composite, Ego Impairment Index–3rd version, Distorted Form Quality Percent, and Common Area Distorted Form Quality Percent) would remain valid in Taiwan and perform better than the corresponding CS variables that measure the same constructs (Perceptual Thinking Index, Ego Impairment Index–2nd version, Distorted Form Index; Form Appropriate–Common Area Index). Ninety individuals (75 psychiatric patients and 15 nonpatients) participated in this study. They were tested with the Rorschach Inkblot Test (RIT) according to the R–PAS manual, along with four other psychological instruments that served as criterion–validity measures in this study: namely, the Magical Ideation Scale, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Clinical Global Impressions–Severity, and Diagnostic Severity. The four aforementioned R–PAS measures were found to be valid when the R–PAS was applied in Taiwan. They were also found to be more effective than their corresponding CS variables in assessing symptoms related to schizophrenic disorders and severity of global psychopathology. These research findings contribute to the RIT literature and also can validate the R–PAS as a Rorschach system that can be effectively employed in a non-U.S. context.

 

2012 Psychodiagnostics Award for Excellence in Psychological Assessment

Smith, J. D., & George, C. (2012). Therapeutic Assessment case study: Treatment of a woman diagnosed with metastatic cancer and attachment trauma. Journal of Personality Assessment, 94(4), 331-344.

Abstract

This article presents a Therapeutic Assessment (TA) case study of a woman recovering from 4 years of intense medical treatment for stage IV cancer. The inclusion and utility of using the Adult Attachment Projective Picture System (AAP) in the TA is highlighted. The client’s attachment classification as unresolved helped identify that her current experiences with dissociation and problems restructuring her life following cancer remission were related to severe childhood sexual abuse, which she had suppressed for decades. The AAP also provided information regarding the unconscious defensive processes the client employed to cope with attachment distress and her inability to find comfort and support from others. These findings were instrumental in guiding the subsequent psychotherapy. The TA process, particularly the assessor–client relationship, facilitated an experience of containing her previously unintegrated and dysregulated affect. A single-case experiment using daily measurements suggested that participation in TA coincided with symptomatic improvements in multiple domains. These improvements were maintained during 4 months of biweekly psychotherapy after the completion of the TA. This case illustrates the applicability of the TA model in health care settings, demonstrates the usefulness of the AAP in the context of TA, and provides empirical support for the effectiveness of the TA model in initiating symptom improvement.