The Use of Projective Techniques in Personality Assessment of the Aged

  • Boaz Kahana


The classical problem confronting personality assessment in the elderly as well as in other groups has been that of surveying the gestalt of personality using indices which are both valid and reliable and yet which allow an overall understanding of the person (Chown, 1967). Hacker, Gaitz, and Hacker (1972, p, 94) argue that a humanistic view of mental health dictates a reevaluation of our orientation to diagnostic assessment. “In the pressure to quantify certain aspects of human behavior for scientific investigation, the essential human or spiritual qualities of the person are de-emphasized, and at times forgotten.” Behavioral scientists increasingly have been using standardized, closed-ended indices of mental health or illness. Data obtained through such measures are easily scored, processed, and quantified. Research on older persons has shown, however, that such indices may not capture the complexities of behavior and may even encourage a dehumanizing orientation toward older mental patients. Clinical assessment of the aged must go beyond an attempt to characterize mental impairment and illness and serve to uncover the potential of the aging individual (Oberleder, 1967).


Coping Style Personality Assessment Projective Technique Stimulus Card Sentence Completion 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boaz Kahana
    • 1
  1. 1.Oakland UniversityUSA

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