Rorschach Protocols from Children and Adolescents Diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Rorschach protocols from 35 children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 35 with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) were compared. Both groups revealed significant differences from the normative tables on the same 12 variables: SCZI, DEPI, CDI, X+%, EgoC, Afr, T, EA, P, WSumC, RawSumSS, and WgtSumSS. However, as predicted, 4 of those variables, the Schizophrenic Index (SCZI) and 3 of the criterion tests that comprise it (X+%, RawSumSS, and WgtSumSS) were significantly different between the PTSD and ODD groups, with the PTSD group responding with more extreme scores. These findings contradict Exner's (1993) statement that only people with schizophrenia can be "defined or conceptualized as having both the problems of disordered thinking and inaccurate perception" (p. 356). Children and adolescents with PTSD also display these problems when trauma interrupts the child's naive belief that the world has predictable rules, the people in it are trustworthy and fair, and punishment and pain are consequences of bad behavior. When young victims cannot comprehend or make sense of what has happened to them, life becomes irrational, illogical, and confusing. Exner's SCZI does what it was designed to do: identify individuals with disordered thinking and inaccurate perception. Therefore, SCZI should be renamed the Perception and Thinking Index (PATI) to reflect its function rather than a diagnostic category.

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Journal of Personality Assessment





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