Development and Evaluation of an Object Relations Measure for the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank
Rucker, John Thomas III
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Personality assessment measures provide useful insight into the characteristic dispositions and psychological makeup of clinical populations and are routinely utilized by mental health professionals to guide treatment and case conceptualizations. Most widely used psychological measures include indicators of interpersonal functioning. Personality presentations with dysfunctional interpersonal styles may include underlying maladaptive object relations, which serve as the mental templates for social interchange and interpersonal dynamics. The Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank (RISB) is the most widely used sentence completion method and is often included in personality assessment batteries in evaluating an examinee’s level of adjustment and/or maladjustment. This study sought to develop and evaluate an object relations (OR) measure for the RISB to aid mental health professionals in their assessment of social (mal)adjustment. Existing RISB stems were used to develop self- and other-representation subscales (9 stems; 6 stems), and a combined total scale (15 stems). Several reliability and validity analyses were undertaken with these RISB OR scales. Inter-rater reliability coefficients for N = 50 outpatient clients were .80 (Self subscale), .88 (Other subscale), and .88 (Total scale). Internal consistency reliabilities (.77; .54; .77) for N = 123 outpatients demonstrated medium-to-large effect sizes. Test-retest reliabilities (.71; .65; .64) using an N = 20 college student sample demonstrated moderate temporal stability of the scales. External validity evaluations examined correlations between RISB OR scales and variables from N = 84 Rorschach profiles and scales from N = 111 MMPI-2 profiles of outpatient clients. Convergent validity correlations with Rorschach variables were minimal, but convergent correlations with several MMPI-2 interpersonal scales achieved small-to-large effect sizes. Discriminant validity was most clearly shown with Rorschach variables, but not MMPI-2 scales. RISB OR scales demonstrated significant differences in mean scores between N = 50 outpatient and N = 50 collegiate participants, but not between personality disordered and non-personality disordered outpatients (N = 45 each). The findings of this study are commensurate with prior internal reliability and construct validity studies of the RISB, suggesting sufficient psychometric standing of the RISB OR scales as measures of self- and other-representations. Implications and future directions of these findings are discussed.