The Measurement of Social Competence in Children Using the Rorschach Inkblot Test: A Validation Study
Sandra A. Soenning, Gary D. Fireman, James R. Clopton
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2010.14035   PDF    HTML     8,801 Downloads   16,569 Views  


The current study evaluated the validity of Rorschach variables in assessing interpersonal competence in children. Participants were three groups of 4th-5th- and 6th-grade children identified by a peer nomination measure: 24 popular children, 9 rejected, aggressive children, and 20 rejected, non-aggressive children. ANOVAs, chi-square analyses, and Fisher’s Exact Test were used to analyze data for validity indices, human representational responses, and other Rorschach variables relevant to social competence [1]. There were no significant differences between popular children and the two peer-rejected groups of children for Rorschach variables related to prosocial skills (Good Human Representation and Cooperative responses). In contrast, group differences did provide some support for Rorschach variables related to deficits in interpersonal competence (Poor Human Representation and Aggressive responses; D scores). Until more validity research is conducted, examiners should be cautious when drawing conclusions about social competence on the basis of children’s Rorschach responses.

Share and Cite:

Soenning, S. , Fireman, G. & Clopton, J. (2010). The Measurement of Social Competence in Children Using the Rorschach Inkblot Test: A Validation Study. Psychology, 1, 261-272. doi: 10.4236/psych.2010.14035.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. E. Exner, Jr. “The Rorschach: A Comprehensive System, Vol. 1, Basic Foundations,” 4th Edition, Wiley, Hoboken, 2003.
[2] J. M. Wood, M. T. Nezworski, S. O. Lilienfeld and H. N. Garb, “What’s Wrong with the Rorschach? Science Confronts the Controversial Inkblot Test,” Jossey-Bass, New York, 2003.
[3] G. J. Meyer, “Introduction to the Final Special Section in the Special Series on the Utility of the Rorschach for Clinical Assessment,” Psychological Assessment, Vol. 13, 2001, pp. 419-422.
[4] B. Burns and D. J. Viglione, Jr. “The Rorschach Human Experience Variable, Interpersonal Relatedness, and Object Representation in Nonpatients,” Psychological Assessment, Vol. 8, 1996, pp. 92-99.
[5] W. Perry, A. McDougall and D. V. Viglione, Jr., “A Five-Year Follow-Up on the Temporal Stability of the Ego Impairment Index,” Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 64, 1995, pp. 112-118.
[6] W. Perry and D. V. Viglione, Jr. “The Ego Impairment Index as a Predictor of Outcome in Melancholic Depressed Patients Treated with Tricyclic Antidepressants,” Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 56, 1991, pp. 487-501.
[7] J. M. Wood, M. T. Nezworski, W. J. Stejskal, S. Garven and S. G. West, “Methodological Issues in Evaluating Rorschach Validity: A Comment on Burns and Viglione (1996), Weiner (1996), and Ganellen (1996),” Assessment, Vol. 6, 1999, pp. 115-129.
[8] J. E. Exner, Jr. “New Research—Additions, Changes, and Deletions,” Alumni Newsletter, 2000, pp. 1-5.
[9] N. R. Crick and J. Grotpeter, “Relational Aggression, Gender, and Social-Psychological Adjustment,” Child Development, Vol. 66, 1995, pp. 710-722.
[10] K. L. Bierman, “Peer Rejection: Developmental Processes and Intervention Strategies,” Guilford, New York, 2004.
[11] J. D. Coie, K. A. Dodge and H. Coppotelli, “Dimensions and Types of Social Status: A Cross-Age Perspective,” Developmental Psychology, Vol. 18, 1982, pp. 557-570.
[12] J. Parkhurst and S. Asher, “Peer Rejection in Middle School: Subgroup Differences in Behavior, Loneliness, and Interpersonal Concerns,” Developmental Psychology, Vol. 28, 1992, pp. 231-241.
[13] K. R. Wentzel and S. R. Asher, “The Academic Lives of Neglected, Rejected, Popular, and Controversial Children,” Child Development, Vol. 66, 1995, pp. 754-763.
[14] J. D. Coie and K. A. Dodge, “Continuities and Changes in Children’s Social Status: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study,” Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1983, pp. 261- 282.
[15] J. E. Exner, Jr., “A Rorschach Workbook for the Comprehensive System,” 4th Edition, Rorschach Workshops, Asheville, 1995.
[16] I. B. Weiner, “Editor’s Note: Interscorer Agreement in Rorschach Research,” Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 56, 1991, pp. 1.
[17] A. Pope, K. Bierman and G. Mumma, “Aggression, Hyperactivity, and Inattention Immaturity: Behavior Dimensions Associated with Peer Rejection in Elementary School Boys,” Developmental Psychology, Vol. 29, 1991 pp. 353-374.
[18] G. Fireman, S. Hutcherson, A. Chilton and E. Wang, “Predicting School Disciplinary Problems: The Validity of Peer Nomination Measures,” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 2002.
[19] G. J. Meyer, M. J. Hilsenroth, D. Baxter, J. E. Exner, Jr., J. C. Fowler, C. C. Piers and J. Resnick, “An Examination of Interpreter Reliability for Scoring the Rorschach Comprehensive System in Eight Data Sets,” Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 78, No. 2, 2002, pp. 219-274.
[20] P. E. Shrout and J. L. Fleiss, “Intraclass Correlations: Use in Assessing Rater Reliability,” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 2, 1979, pp. 420-428.
[21] H. C. Kraemer and C. M. Blasey, “Centring in Regression Analyses: A Strategy to Prevent Errors in Statistical Inference,” International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2004, pp. 141-151.
[22] L. G. Portney and M. P. Watkins, “Foundations of Clinical Research: Applications to Practice,” 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2000.
[23] A. W. Ghent, “A Method for Exact Testing of 2 × 2, 2 × 3, 3 × 3, and Other Contingency Tables, Employing Binomial Coefficients,” American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 88, No. 1, 1972, pp. 15-27.
[24] G. Keppel, “Design and Analysis: A Researcher’s Handbook,” 3rd Edition, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1991.
[25] J. E. Exner, Jr. and P. Erdberg, “The Rorschach: A Comprehensive System. Vol. 2, Advanced Interpretation,” 3rd Edition, Wiley, Hoboken, 2005.
[26] S. R. Orduff, L. Centeno and R. M. Kelsey, “Rorschach Assessment of Malevolence in Sexually Abused Girls,” Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 73, No. 1, 1999, pp. 100-109.
[27] E. S. Buhs and G. W. Ladd, “Peer Rejection as Antecedent of Young Children’s School Adjustment: An Examination of Mediating Processes,” Developmental Psychology, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2001, pp. 550-560.
[28] N. R. Crick, J. K. Grotpeter and M. A. Bigbee, “Relationally and Physically Aggressive Children’s Intent Attributions and Dealings of Distress for Relational and Instrumental Peer Provocations,” Child Development, Vol. 73, 2002, pp. 1134-1142.
[29] S. Miller-Johnson, J. D. Coie, A. Maumary-Gremaud and K. Bierman, “Peer Rejection and Aggression and Early Starter Models of Conduct Disorder,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2002, pp. 217-230.
[30] D. French and G. Waas, “Behavior Problems of Peer-Neglected and Peer-Rejected Elementary-Age Children: Parent and Teacher Perspectives,” Child Development, Vol. 56, 1985, pp. 246-252.
[31] D. Weiner-Levy and J. E. Exner, “The Rorschach EA-ep Variable as Related to Persistence in a Task Frustration Situation under Feedback Conditions,” Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 45, No. 2, 1981, pp. 118-124.
[32] H. Inderbitzen, K. Walters and A. Bukowski, “The Role of Social Anxiety in Adolescent Peer Relations: Differences among Sociometric Status Groups and Rejected Subgroups,” Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 4, 1997, pp. 338-348.
[33] A. Zakriski and J. Coie, “A Comparison of Aggressive-Rejected and Nonaggressive-Rejected Children’s Interpretations of Self-Directed and Other-Directed Rejection,” Child Development, Vol. 67, No. 3, 1996, pp. 1048- 1070.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.