Formal Characteristics of Thematic Apperception Test Narratives of Adult Patients with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. A Preliminary Study


This study explored the usefulness of a Thematic Apperception Test (TAT, Murray, 1943) narrative scoring system to detect signs of autistic information processing. A total of 27 patients with an Autism Spectrum Disor- der were compared to a control group (N = 67) of patients with other psychiatric disorders. As an external indi- rect measure of social functioning two dimensions of the Social Cognition and Object Relation Scale (SCORS; Westen,1985) were used: Capacity for Emotional and Moral Investment in Relationships and Understanding of Social Causality. TAT narratives were rated on the prevalence of eight phenomena, as proposed by Edrisi and Eurelings-Bontekoe (2009). Autistic patients showed a lower level of social insight and were particularly char- acterized by high scores on Weak Central Coherence, Jumping to Conclusions and Difficulty with describing/ interpreting movements. Results provide preliminary support for the usefulness of the TAT scoring system, but need to be replicated using larger samples and blind scoring.

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Eurelings-Bontekoe, E. , Zwinkels, K. , Schaap-Jonker, H. & Edrisi, M. (2011). Formal Characteristics of Thematic Apperception Test Narratives of Adult Patients with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. A Preliminary Study. Psychology, 2, 687-693. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.27105.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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