Addressing Issues in the Development and Use of the Composite International Reference Values as Rorschach Norms for Adults Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Meyer, Gregory J; Shaffer, Thomas W; Erdberg, Philip; Horn, Sandra L


  • This article describes 3 studies evaluating normative reference data for the Rorschach Comprehensive System (CS; Exner, 2003, 2007), with a particular focus on the viability of the Composite International Reference Values (CIRVs) that were compiled from 21 adult studies by Meyer, Erdberg, and Shaffer (2007). Study 1 documented how the CIRV norms are virtually identical when organized into 3 groups differentiated by the quality of their data collection effort, including an optimal group of 4 samples that relied on multiple experienced examiners and provided ongoing quality control over administration and coding. Analyses also showed that relative to the group of more optimal samples, the group of less optimal samples did not produce more variability in summary scores within or across samples or lower interrater reliability for coding. Study 2 used the existing CS reference norms to generate T scores for the CIRV means and documented how the CS norms make other samples of healthy nonpatients look psychologically impaired in multiple domains. Study 3 documented with examples from 4 different countries how 2 sets of within-country local norms produced notably different results on some variables, which compromises the ability of local norms to be used instead of the CIRVs. Taken together, the 3 studies provide support for the use of CIRVs in clinical practice as norms that are generalizable across samples, settings, languages, and cultures and that account for the natural variability that is present when clinicians and researchers contend with the ambiguity contained in the standard CS reference materials concerning the proper ways to administer and code. We conclude by urging CS users to rely on the CIRVs when making clinical inferences and to adopt alternative methods of ensuring they are following cohesively standardized administration and coding guidelines.

publication date

  • 2015

published in

start page

  • 330

end page

  • 47


  • 97