Encyclopedia of Adolescence

2011 Edition
| Editors: Roger J. R. Levesque

Thematic Apperception Test

  • Edward D. RossiniEmail author
  • Robert J. Moretti
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1695-2_202

While controversial among academic clinical psychologists, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; Murray 1943) remains a widely used projective personality assessment technique in the clinical assessment of adolescents and in research on personality development throughout adolescence. The TAT is essentially a semi-structured storytelling technique, with the stories told in response to a series of emotionally provocative and/or ambiguous achromatic pictures. While rooted in psychoanalytic theory, especially the analytical psychology of C.G. Jung, a variety of objective coding and scoring systems now exist to measure both normal developmental personality motives and needs (e.g., achievement, intimacy, power) as well as a variety of clinical constructs directly related to an adolescent’s level of personality organization and psychopathological deficits. However, most clinical psychologists continue to use informal, idiographic interpretations of an adolescent’s stories to understand their...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Archer, R. P., Maruish, M., Imhof, E. A., & Piotrowski, C. (1991). Psychological test usage with adolescent clients: 1990 survey findings. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 22, 247–252.Google Scholar
  2. Bellak, L. (1999). My perceptions of the Thematic Apperception Test in psychodiagnosis and psychotherapy. In L. Gieser & M. I. Stein (Eds.), Evocative images: The Thematic Apperception Test and the art of projection (pp. 133–141). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  3. Bellak, L., & Abrams, D. M. (1997). The T.A.T., the C.A.T., and the S.A.T. in clinical use (6th ed.). Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  4. Bettelheim, B. (1975). The uses of enchantment: The meaning and importance of fairy tales. New York: Vantage Books.Google Scholar
  5. Conklin, A., & Westen, D. (2001). Thematic Apperception Test. In W. I. Dorfman & M. Hersen (Eds.), Understanding psychological assessment: Perspectives on individual differences (pp. 107–133). New York: Kluwer/Plenum.Google Scholar
  6. Crespi, T. D., & Politicos, N. N. (2008). Personality assessment with adolescents: Challenges and guidelines. Adolescence, 43, 593–606.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Douglas, C. (1993). Translate this darkness: The life of Christiana Morgan. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  8. Finn, S. E. (2002). How therapeutic assessment became humanistic. The Humanistic Psychologist, 30, 10–22.Google Scholar
  9. Frank, L. K. (1939). Projective methods for the study of personality. Journal of Psychology, 8, 343–389.Google Scholar
  10. Jenkins, S. R. (2008). A handbook of clinical scoring systems for thematic apperceptive techniques. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  11. Kelly, F. D. (1997). The assessment of object relations phenomena in adolescents: TAT and Rorschach measures. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Kroon, N., Goudena, P. P., & Rispens, J. (1998). Thematic apperception tests for a child and adolescent assessment: A practitioner’s guide. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 16, 99–117.Google Scholar
  13. Lilienfeld, S. O., Wood, J. M., & Garb, H. N. (2000). The scientific status of projective techniques. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 1, 27–66.Google Scholar
  14. Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551–558.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. McAdams, D. P. (1993). Stories we live by: Personal myths and the making of self. New York: Morrow.Google Scholar
  16. Moretti, R. J., & Rossini, E. D. (2004). The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). In M. J. Hilsenroth & D. L. Segal (Eds.), Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment, Vol. 2: Personality assessment (pp. 356–371). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Morgan, C. D., & Murray, H. A. (1935). A method for investigating fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 34, 289–306.Google Scholar
  18. Murray, H. A. (1943). Thematic Apperception Test manual. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Peterson, C. A. (1990). Administration of the Thematic Apperception Test: Contributions of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 20, 191–200.Google Scholar
  20. Robinson, F. G. (1992). Love’s story untold: A life of Henry A. Murray. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Rossini, E. D., & Moretti, R. J. (1997). The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) interpretation: Practice recommendations from a survey of clinical psychology doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28, 393–398.Google Scholar
  22. Weiner, I. B. (1994). The Rorschach Inkblot Method (RIM) is not a test: Implications for theory and practice. Journal of Personality Assessment, 62, 498–504.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRoosevelt UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, C.G. Jung Institute of ChicagoChicagoUSA