Rorschach indices of defensive behavior



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The primary purpose of this study was to systematize Schafer's (1954) criteria for determining four types of defensive behavior from Rorschach data. A second purpose was to investigate differences in type, amount, and complexity of defensive behavior between good and poor prognosis schizophrenics. The sample consisted of 60 subjects (30 males and 30 females) with an age range of 18 to 45, a WAIS I.Q. of 80 or above, and a psychiatric diagnosis of schizophrenia — 30 with good prognosis and 30 with poor prognosis. Differences between experimental groups and between sexes in age and intelligence were not significant. The procedure involved administering the Rorschach test and the Wiener, Carpenter and Carpenter (1956) sentence completion test individually to each subject. The Rorschach test data were analyzed according to two different procedures. In the first, a global judgment of predominant defensive behavior was made. In the second method, each record was scored separately for repression, denial, intellectualization, and projection with scales developed in this study for this purpose. The sentence completion test was scored according to a rationale developed by Rudie and McGaughran (1961). The results indicated that the use of defensive scales was more effective than global judgments in predicting prognosis in schizophrenia. Also, scaled scores were more significantly related to defensive behavior scores on the sentence completion test than were global judgments of Rorschach data. It was also found that the poor prognosis group relied primarily on repression and that the good prognosis group displayed a greater amount and complexity of defensive behavior. It was suggested that the scales be further refined for use in studying a sample from a normal population.



Defense mechanisms (Psychology), Schizophrenia, Rorschach Test