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„Movement reactions” in the Hermann Rorschach Test. Part 2 Testing parents of a child suffering from schizophrenia and parents of healthy children

Abstract

Introduction: The specific character of Rorschach test responses of parents who had a child with schizophrenia has been reported many times. The analysis presented in this paper is focused on responses commenting on movement seen in the inkblots. According to Zygmunt Piotrowski, these responses reflect the prototypal role – self-concepts and a certain pattern of responding that can be understood as phenomena related to the concept of self.

Material and method: I used the Rorschach test to examine 32 couples of parents who had a child suffering from paranoid schizophrenia (as defined in DSM-IV) and 21 couples of parents who had only healthy children.

Results: Parents of schizophrenic children gave significantly fewer human movement responses than parents of healthy children, and some features of these responses give them a specific character. The groups of fathers differed from each other to a greater degree than the groups of mothers. The analysis of relationships between movement responses and shading (chiaroscuro) responses, which are regarded as a measure of anxiety, revealed significant associations in the case of some movement qualities. The exception was that movement quality which is referred to as blocked movement and blocked-posture movement in Piotrowski’s interpretive scheme. All movement qualities globally considered were significantly correlated with anxiety, the exceptions being the group of parents of healthy children and the group of all fathers.

Discussion: The smaller number of human movement responses found in the group of parents of schizophrenic children may attest to these people’s lower psychological maturity, which is associated with a less distinctly formed prototypal role. Moreover, certain specific features of these responses can be interpreted as a sign of difficulties in expressing this role. The cooccurrence of movement responses with shading responses, which are treated as a sign of anxiety, was not always consistent with expectations; this should be considered a reason to reflect on the psychological meaning of these responses and on the possible return to Rorschach’s original views.

Conclusions: The results of the study suggest lower maturity in the case of parents of schizophrenic children, manifesting itself in a less strongly developed prototypal role and certain difficulties in expressing this role. Based on the analysis of the cooccurrence of movement responses and responses commenting on the shading present in the inkblots, it is possible to conclude that there is a need for a new psychological interpretation of these responses.

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Movement responses in the Rorschach test. Part 1 Testing healthy and schizophrenic individuals

Abstract

Introduction: The theoretical basis for the present article is Zygmunt Piotrowski’s concept of prototypal role. This role is understood as a self-concept and as a mechanism guiding and stabilizing relations with the environment. The concept of prototypal role can be regarded as similar to the concept of self.

It is possible to assess the prototypal role by analyzing the movement responses obtained during an examination using the Rorschach test. Empirical data suggest that patients with schizophrenia have an insufficiently developed or peculiarly formed prototypal role and experience certain difficulties in expressing this role.

Material and method: The number of 32 individuals with schizophrenia and 21 healthy individuals were examined using the Rorschach test. Apart from the analysis of movement and posture responses; responses interpreting the shading (chiaroscuro) visible in the inkblots were taken into consideration. Responses of the latter kind are considered to be a measure of anxiety.

Results: There found no differences in the most significant variables, the number of human movement responses was not lower in the group of subjects with schizophrenia, and the number of human movement responses not adequately reflecting the form of the inkblots was not higher in schizophrenic individuals. Some of the movement qualities distinguished by Piotrowski were significantly correlated with anxiety, but these associations were not always consistent with the predictions.

Discussion: Data analysis revealed no specificity in the development of prototypal role in schizophrenic individuals; difficulties in the expression of this role were not frequent and occurred mainly in schizophrenic women as compared to healthy ones. More differences occurred between schizophrenic women and schizophrenic men, what may attest to the influence of gender on the experience of adaptation to disease.

Conclusions: The analysis of movement responses and shading responses provides the basis not so much for differentiating health and disease as for better insight into the very psychological significance of movement and shading responses.

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