Clinical Characteristics Related to Test Engagement on Objective and Projective Personality Tests among Child and Adolescent Outpatients

Wickline, Philip W., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Ann, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Lawrence, Edith, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Scores from objective and projective personality tests tend to demonstrate low correlations, despite intentions to measure the same constructs. However, test-takers' engagement with each respective method of assessment (i.e., objective or projective) can play a powerful mediating role on the relationships between the two types of tests. Despite having been identified as an important construct, personality test engagement has received little attention in the empirical literature. The present study sought to investigate and expand the existing knowledge base about this construct with a sample of 203 children and adolescents referred to a university based outpatient clinic for psychological assessment. Consistent with the extant literature with adult samples, profile-based measures of engagement demonstrated good construct validity. Likewise, objective and projective test engagement demonstrated little relationship with each other, indicating that they are independent of each other. Correlational analyses revealed a pattern of relationships between a number of clinical variables and objective and projective test engagement that is consistent with clinical experience. Multivariate analyses, however, revealed that only a few of these variables accounted for unique variance; measures of inattention and social withdrawal were most predictive of objective test engagement, and verbal thinking and reasoning skills were most predictive of projective test engagement. On the basis of these results, implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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