Normative Study

Rorschach UK Reference Sample Study

Sponsored by Carstairs Psychological Associates Ltd.

This study, which began in March 2014 and is due to be completed in 2017, will collect normative data for the Rorschach in the UK.  A total of 88 adult participants  from a non-clinical population have taken part. This data will then be compared to norms from the USA and various European countries (France, Finland, Belgium, Italy and Spain). The purpose of the study is to enable clinicians to make an informed choice about which data set to use with British clients

Background Information

The Rorschach Comprehensive System (Exner, 2003) is a widely used test and scoring procedure that is founded upon a large amount of normative data. However, the original norms were based on data from North America, and there are no specific normative data from the UK, despite the test being used here. International normative studies have been conducted in sixteen different countries and involved nearly nine thousand participants.

The hypothesis and the objective

The objective of the proposed study is to gather a sample of data from the general population in the UK to determine whether the results differ from US and European norms.


The data is being collected by Registered Clinical Psychologists with training and at least two years’ experience in administering and scoring the Rorschach. Two of the assessors (Dr Carstairs and Dr McCarthy Woods) have been using the test for over 20 years, have published articles on the use of the test, and also have experience of training others to use the test. The Rorschach responses will be administered and scored in accordance with Exner’s Comprehensive System. We will be using a computerised system to analyse the scores. The system we will use has been developed in France and is called CHESSSS (Code for Hermann: Enhanced Structural Summary and Supplementary Scales – see

Participants will come from a range of ages, ethnicity, economic status and educational backgrounds, and there will be approximately equal numbers of men and women. There are inclusion and exclusion criteria.

How the research will be communicated to the wider community?

The results of this study will be written up for publication in a peer reviewed journal. They will also be presented at the British Rorschach Society Meeting and to the International Rorschach Society.

Supervision of research and training/qualifications of those doing the research

The overall supervision of the study will be carried out by Dr Kari Carstairs and Dr Justine McCarthy Woods.

How has the scientific quality of this study been assessed?

As this study is not eligible for consideration by an NHS or University Ethics Committee, the study has been reviewed independently by two senior psychologists with research experience and their written feedback was considered in the development of this protocol. The BPS Research Ethics guidelines were also consulted. The development of the study has also been done in accordance with the principles set out in the British Psychological Society Code of Human Research Ethics that a) the researchers believe that they have acted within the ethics standards laid down by ethics committees and b) that evidence to this effect can be provided if necessary.


Barkham, M., Mellor-Clark, J., Connell, J., Evans, C., Evans, R, Margison F.(2010) Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE) – The CORE measures and system: Measuring, monitoring and managing quality evaluation in the psychological therapies. Developing and delivering practice-based evidence: A guide for the psychological Therapies

Exner, J. E. (2003) The Rorschach: A Comprehensive system: Volume 1. New York: Wiley.

Exner, J. E, Kinder, B. N. & Curtiss, G. (1995). Reviewing Basic Design Features. In John E. Exner (Ed.), Issues and Methods in Rorschach Research (pp. 145-158). New York: Routledge.

Fontan, P., Andronikof, A., Nicodemo, D., Al Nyssani, L., Guilheri, J., Hansen, K. G., Kim, G. Kumasaka, S. & Nakamura, N. (2013). CHESSSS: A free software solution to score and compute the Rorschach Comprehensive System and Supplementary Scales. Rorschachiana, 34(1), 56-82. doi: 10.1027/1192-5604/a000040

Meyer, Gregory J., Erdberg, Philip & Shaffer, Thomas W. (2007). Toward International Normative Reference Data for the Comprehensive System. Journal of Personality Assessment, 89, supplement 1, S201-S216.

Viglione, Donald J. & Meyer, Gregory J. (2008). An overview of Rorschach psychometrics for forensic practice. In Carl B. Gacono & F. Barton Evans (Eds.), The Handbook of Forensic Rorschach Assessment (pp. 21-53). New York: Routledge.