Thursday, December 1, 2011

Alexander Renelt completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

Minimizing Cross-Cultural Test Bias Through Adaptation: Revisiting Rorschach Reference Norms -- Alexander Renelt

Alex currently works for the US Army as a clinical psychologist at Dwight D Eisenhower Army Medical Center (DDEAMC) in Fort Gordon, Georgia. He was commissioned as an Army officer last summer and, as a result, is known to most as Captain Renelt. At DDEAMC, Alex treats and assesses for a myriad of disorders that include a fair amount of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He is certified in and relies larely on both Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy in working with clients with PTSD.

A large percentage of his assessments and therapy are actually conducted in Spanish, since he is both bicultural (Cuban-American) and bilingual. Alex has an MA in Educational Psychology and Clinical-Bilingual therapy and has conducted numerous workshops, presentations, and research in the area to include previously developing and teaching an undergraduate course at Montclair State University in NJ for several years. He has also been an active member in various Latino professional associations to include serving on the Executive Board of the NJ Latino Psychological Association. Most recently, the Army has been using Alex to consult, assess, and treat a large component of predominantly Spanish-speaking National Guard soldiers that are stationed in Puerto Rico and serve throughout the world.

In addition to the PhD and MA at Fielding, Alex has a MA in Educational Psychology and Clinical-Bilingual Therapy and Assessment. He also has a BS in Psychology from St. Peter's College in Jersey City, NJ. While at Fielding, Alex was able to further develop his interests in Psychometrics and Personality Assessment and served as a Teaching Assistant for Lynne Saba teaching students to conduct SPSS statistical analysis.

A Mexican sample was utilized to assess measurement bias for Hispanics using the most recently revised Exner Comprehensive System Rorschach (CS) norms (Exner, 2007). One-way ANOVA tests compared Mexican CS scores of 96 Mexican university students with U.S. norms on 128 published variables. Based on the results of the ANOVAs, significant differences between the Mexican sample’s scores and U.S. norms were found for 84 of 128 or 66% of the CS variables with 64 out of the 128 or 50% deemed clinically significant based on effect sizes. To investigate if cultural reference norms would minimize measurement bias, T-scores were then calculated across all variables for the Mexican sample, Exner (2007) sample, and an international reference sample (IRS) compiled by Meyer, Erdberg, and Shaffer (2007) with Exner (2007) norms serving as the reference scores. T-score comparisons of the Mexican sample with Exner’s (2007) sample produced 71 clinically significant variable differences; whereas, comparisons of the Mexican group with the IRS produced 29 fewer clinically relevant differences. The general normalizing of the Mexican sample’s performance when compared to the IRS versus U.S. norms (Exner, 2007) was exhibited in analyses of eight CS cluster configurations. While IRS comparisons did not fully account for the differences in performance for the Mexican sample, the disparities between the study’s sample and the U.S. norms were generally mitigated by IRS scores. The reliable within-group similarities and between-group differences on the CS appear to be a testament to the CS’s foundation in cross-cultural research and Herman Rorschach’s intentions for the Rorschach as a tool for examining both psychopathology and culture’s influence on personality. Further development of reference norms more specific to Latino examinees seems warranted.

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