The Rorschach test and Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome: A pilot case-control study

Umberto Balottin, Maura Rossi, Giorgio Rossi, Lucia Viganò, Marta Nanti, Silvia Salini, Giovanni Lanzi, Cristiano Termine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To date only three studies, all lacking a control group, have investigated the personality style underlying tic disorders or Tourette's syndrome (TS), using the projective Rorschach test. Despite the recent controversy about its proper use in clinical practice and research, the Rorschach test may be useful to explore personality organization in TS. The research hypothesis under investigation in this exploratory study was that young TS patients exhibit a peculiar personality organization, with significantly increased indicators of poor emotional control, aggression, anxiety and depression, on the Rorschach test, compared to healthy controls. Methods: We analyed the Rorschach protocols of 17 newly diagnosed paediatric TS patients and 17 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Results: Compared with the controls young TS patients recorded significantly lower mean percentages of F and F+ responses and a significantly higher number of FM and FC responses, thus showing reduced control of emotions and difficulty in integrating aggressivity. Furthermore, associations emerged between comorbidity with ADHD and increased emotional instability and between severity of tics and of OCD and a pattern of emotional hyper-control and application of rigid defensive mechanisms. Conclusions: These results seem to confirm the existence of a peculiar personality style in young TS patients and may have important implications, both pathogenetic and therapeutic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-665
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Development
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Psychopathology
  • Rorschach test
  • Tourette's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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