Construct validation of the Rorschach Reality-Fantasy scale in alexithymia

Shira Tibon, Yifat Weinberger, Jonathan E. Handelzalts, Piero Porcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The study applies Winnicott's conceptualization of potential space to the alexithymia construct by using a new Rorschach index, the Reality-Fantasy Scale (RFS). The scale uses variables derived from the Rorschach Comprehensive System (Exner, 2000, 2001) to detect different types of psychopathological manifestations conceptualized as forms of collapse of potential space. Following previous research, the present study further evaluates the construct validity of the RFS in a sample of 92 patients with inflammatory bowel disease, categorized on the basis of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) as alexithymic, indeterminate alexithymia, and nonalexithymic groups. As hypothesized, the RFS significantly correlated with the TAS-20, discriminated among the 3 groups, and showed incremental validity in detecting alexithymia over isolated Rorschach markers. The study supports the exploration of psychoanalytic ideas by empirical, statistically based methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-523
Number of pages16
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • Alexithymia
  • Construct validity
  • Potential space
  • Psychosomatics
  • Rorschach Reality-Fantasy scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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