Corresponding Author Information: Robert N. Harris, Ph.D.

Session Abstract: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Elevations in the frequency of content categories within a Rorschach protocol are thought to be clinically meaningful. Exner (1993) asserted that the Comprehensive System (CS) content codes Botany (Bt), Cloud (Cl), Nature (Na), Landscape (Ls) and Geography (Ge) relate to interpersonal interest. Based on two unpublished studies, he created the Isolation Index, calculated as (2Cl + 2Na + Ls + Bt + Ge)/R and indicated that elevated index scores are seen in individuals who are socially isolated or feel socially isolated. A meta-analytic validation of CS variables (Mihura, Meyer, Dumitrascu, & Bombel (2013) led to the elimination of the Isolation Index from the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS) due to insufficient research support for its inclusion. This study reexamines the isolation Index, provides Isolation Index normative data for an R-PAS sample and suggests an alternative to Exner’s index that resolves some scoring and conceptual dilemmas. SUBJECTS Subjects were a culturally diverse group of 189 adult, community volunteers from Central California. METHODS AND MATERIALS Subjects completed the Rorschach Inkblot Test (R-PAS method), Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence | Second Edition (WASI-II) the Personality Assessment Screener (PAS) and a demographic questionnaire. Examiners were closely supervised doctoral students in clinical psychology. The Rorschach protocols were recoded for Exner’s Isolation Index. ANALYSES This study was a re-analysis of a previously obtained archival dataset. Interrater reliabilities were good to excellent for all but the Ge code (ICC = .463, Fair). Primary analyses were descriptive (Isolation Index normative data for the sample), correlational and exploratory. RESULTS We found that the Isolation Index had a non-significant relationship with the PAS Social Withdrawal scale, a frequently reported result when conceptually similar introspective and Rorschach variables are examined. Numerous Rorschach variables that are suggestive of interpersonal interest were also essentially unrelated to the Isolation Index. CONCLUSIONS We propose an alternative to the Isolation Index (Isolation Content Primary), focusing on responses where the primary coded content is an Isolation Index content, resolving concerns related to isolation and human contents in the same response and eliminating the need for Exner’s complicated rules for coding responses with multiple isolation contents. Normative data is presented for this new index. Finally, concerns with what the Index actually measures are discussed and suggestions for future research offered. References Exner, J.E., Jr. (1993). The Rorschach: A comprehensive System. Volume 1: Basic foundation (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley Mihura, J. L., Meyer, G. J., Dumitrascu, N., & Bombel, G. (2013). The validity of individual Rorschach variables: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the comprehensive system. Psychological Bulletin, 139(3), 548–605. Note: This paper was previously submitted and accepted for the Spring 2020 SPA conference that was canceled.


Robert N. Harris, Ph.D. | Alliant International University, Fresno, CA

Thomas Shaffer, PhD | Alliant International University - Fresno

Kristen Kelsey | Alliant International University, Fresno, CA

Jessica Harris, M.A. | Alliant International University, Fresno, CA

Dr. HarrisDr. Robert H. Harris

Professor, Doctor of Psychology Program in Clinical Psychology, Alliant International University - Fresno

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