Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Personality.




The main purpose of the study was to identify Rorschach personality indicators which discriminate between psychosomatic and nonpsychosomatic children. The study consisted of two parts: a retrospective study of 94 children and a replication study on a concurrent sample of 30 children. Subjects for the retrospective and concurrent studies were boys and girls aged 6-15 years who were referred to two Children's Mental Health Centres in Southern Ontario for a variety of behavioral and emotional problems. Two groups, psychosomatic and nonpsychosomatic children, were identified; for the retrospective study, elevations on the Somatic Complaints Scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL, Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983) were used to flag children's clinical charts. The charts were scrutinized for medical evidence to establish the presence or absence of a psychosomatic illness. Psychosomatic and nonpsychosomatic children were matched on four variables (sex, age, intellectual level, and socioeconomic status). The Rorschach protocols were scored using the Comprehensive System (Exner, 1990) and interrater agreement on the scoring was obtained. The two groups identified in the retrospective study were then contrasted on the scores for five composites, each comprised of several individual Rorschach variables, that have been proposed by earlier researchers as "psychosomatic indicators". Discriminant Function analyses were performed using the five composites. Only the Bash composite significantly discriminated between the psychosomatic and the nonpsychosomatic groups with a 72% correct classification rate. The Bash composite was then tested on the concurrent sample and the results of the second Discriminant Function analysis partially supported the findings of the retrospective study. The Bash composite suggested that the psychosomatic child may have the following personality features: a more simplistic approach to the environment, more concern with conventionality, more ideation than emotional expression when both coping methods are available, more uncontrolled affect, lower fantasy production, less modulated affect, fewer unprovoked thoughts, fewer organized coping resources, and lower originality of thinking. The clinical utility of the Rorschach in identifying children with psychosomatic illnesses and the treatment implications of the findings were discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1992 .J654. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 54-05, Section: B, page: 2800. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1992.