The Rorschach Test in the forensic context: a study on parenting conducted on couples in separation and child custody context

by Roberto Cicioni, Tommaso Caravelli, Floriana Loggia, Maria Elisa Maiolo

This work aims at setting Rorschach Test in a specific forensic context, such as that of the couples involved in separation and in entrustment of minors.
Authors’ intent is to arrange the foundation for a future calibration of Rorschach Test, specific to the forensic context of couples undergoing separation and child custody.
The study was conducted on 150 Rorschach protocols administered to a sample of Italian separated couples and evaluated in the field of child custody; this study also aims at meeting the demand of the Technical Consultant to make use of specific diagnostic elements to the participants that are involved personally in separation and custody. Data collection shows an average profile of the appraised participants different from the profile of those who do not live this deep state of transition and stress: this can be an objective starting point on which to base assessments on parenting.

The comparison of the data obtained in this study with those ones of the “national reference sample” shows differences between protocols of those participants that do the test voluntarily, with those gathered in the investigation contexts who often are characterized by low motivation to the test and by fears and anxieties which are intrinsically related to the topic of evaluation. It is definitively important for the forensic Psychodiagnostics to possess specific statistical data on which to base inferences on the parenting ability of participants, reducing the risk of subjective judgments based on common sense or only on theoretical model, not necessarily shared between consultants, which are often the basis of the occurrence of irreconcilable disputes.

The sample includes protocols administered in Italy between 2001 and 2009, equally divided between males and females with average age 40 years, collected and signed using the “Scuola Romana Rorschach” method.To ensure objectivity in the marking phase, that is to ensure that every answer given by an appraised subject matches one and only one score, we used a computer program, Siglaror (Parisi &Pes, 2006), a database of more than 23,000 Rorschach interpretations marked on a statistical system and on the degree of agreement achieved by a group of experts at national level.

Psicologo, Direttore Istituto Rorschach Forense.

Roberto Cicioni

Psicologo, Presidente Istituto Rorschach Forense.

Tommaso Caravelli 

Psicologa – Psicoterapeuta, Specialista in Psicologia Clinica e Terapia Familiare, Consulente del Tribunale Civile e Penale di Roma.

Floriana Loggia 

PhD Student, Università “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti.

Maria Elisa Maiolo
Contacts: Roberto Cicioni, via Bologna 8, 00065 Fiano Romano (Roma), cell. 338.2658825 - e-mail: robertocicioni(at)

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n° 4/2012


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