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01-10-2012 | Editorial | Uitgave 10/2012

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 10/2012

Invited Commentary: Applying Psychodynamic Developmental Assessment to Explore Mental Functioning in Adolescents

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 10/2012
Shira Tibon Czopp


Recent publications in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence present a variety of topics exploring adolescents’ mental functioning in the twenty first century. Conceptually, many of the articles address the intriguing, though rarely explicit, question of developmental continuities and change from adolescence to adulthood. Such investigations, which are particularly prominent in articles that discuss personality dispositions such as impulsivity or lack of empathy and their relationship to emotionally disturbed or maladaptive interpersonal behaviors, examine interactional effects of these dispositions within the personality-context matrix. From a methodological perspective, however, the major tools used for assessing personality dispositions are self-report inventories while performance-based methods, previously defined as projective tests, are not used at all despite the wide range of empirical studies that provide support for their psychometric properties. This commentary suggests that applying a theoretically based, multi-method assessment procedure in empirical research would be most fruitful for any study aimed at exploring mental functioning in adolescents. As an example, I would use the Rorschach Inkblot Method, currently being internationally considered as the most frequently applied personality test for assessing adolescents. Implications for research, practice and policy decision-making are discussed.

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