A Validity Study of Projective Drawings - Claude Jay Robinson, Jr.
The present work attempts to improve the validity and reliability of the Draw-A-Person: Screening Procedure for Emotional Disturbance (DAP:SPED). By examining the theories and practices inherent in the global use of human figure drawings, the DAP:SPED may be improved upon so that drawings can detect three specific classes of mental disorders: depression, anxiety, and psychoses. A novel technological approach, the Psychological Study of Images Captured and Electronically Measured (PSICEM), which provides for empirical, actuarial analysis, is offered. The PSICEM provides quantification and analysis of the most basic structural elements of the drawing. An archival data set was used. Participants contributing to the data set were 100 male and female adolescents (ages 12-18) receiving long-term inpatient treatment in a “wilderness” setting for emotional and behavioral problems. This work attempted to surpass the invalidated method of the signs approach (or equating a particular drawing element with a specific diagnosis) and provide a more theoretically supported, psychometrically sound method of capturing and using human figure drawing data. The significance of this study then, is twofold: a) projective assessment of drawings will be enhanced by the provision of a unifying methodology for the administration, scoring, and interpretation of these tests, and b) clinicians and researchers will be able to use projective assessment in clinical and research inquiry based on reliable and valid empirical data.
Keywords: projective, projective drawings, adolescent, mental health, formal elements of drawings, software analysis, diagnostic drawings, computer-assisted art therapy based instruments, CAABI, art therapy, assessment, psychopathology, mood disorders, psychoses