Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Leonard Handler

Committee Members

John Lounsbury, Jack Barlow


This study sought to compare the effectiveness of selected Rorschach aggression and interpersonal variables from three different scoring systems (Exner, 1993; Gacono & Meloy, 1994; Holt, 1977) in discriminating between protocols of individuals from each of three groups (n=23; 19 male, 4 female): those who have committed violent crimes, those who have committed nonviolent crimes, and clinical control participants. Approximately 78% of the violent group and 57% of the nonviolent group met criteria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision [DSM-IV TR]; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). All remaining members of both forensic groups qualified for another DSM-IV TR Personality Disorder with antisocial features. Participants in the clinical control group were negative for the presence of criminal history, antisocial features, and anger-management problems. All members of this latter group met the criteria for DSM-IV TR Personality Disorder diagnoses other than ASPD. Nonparametric analyses revealed significant main effects for two Exner variables (Sum T and Lambda), two Gacono and Meloy variables (AgC and Sum Ag), and six Holt variables (L20-AG, LO-AGTOT, AGIR, AGLVI, AGLV2, and AGTOT)In addition, a factor analysis was conducted on the full sample (N=69) for six Rorschach aggression variables (AG, MOR, AgC, AgPast, AGLV1, AGLV2) in an attempt to corroborate the findings of Baity and Hilsenroth (1999). Results of the principal factor solution supported these authors' assessment that there are two unequivocal factors underlying unequivocal factors underlying these six variables. The amount of variance explained by these two factors in the current study (60%) was slightly lower than the figure reported by Baity and Hilsenroth in their investigation (77%). Factor loading patterns and relative magnitudes among variables loading on each factor, however, were nearly identical in both studies. Clinical and theoretical implications of the present findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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