Validity of space responses: What can we learn from Rorschach protocols of divorcing couples fighting for child custody?

Divorcing couples who require the intervention of the court system to resolve their child custody disputes usually exhibit intense anger and experience strong resentment. The Rorschach Inkblot Method (RIM) is one of the most commonly used tests in child custody evaluations, in which one crucial issue is affectivity and its regulation, and, specifically, negative emotions such as anger and resentment. White Space (S) is one of the Rorschach Comprehensive System (CS) variables usually taken into account to assess anger and resentment, but to date the construct validity of S responses for this purpose is far from established. Our study addresses this issue by exploring the association between S responses (coded on the basis of the following classifications: the CS, the Rorschach Performance Assessment System, and Rosso, Chiorri, and Denevi, 2015) and the motor, emotional, and cognitive components of aggression reported by clinicians in a sample of divorcing couples engaged in child custody litigation (n = 85). Our findings support the hypothesis that Space fusion responses may be a marker of separation and emptiness anxiety, whereas no support is provided by this study for the hypothesis that Space reversal and Space integration responses are indicative of anger. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)