Social/Emotional and Personality Assessment

Social/emotional and personality assessments typically begin with an in-depth parental interview in order to gain a thorough understanding of their concerns and the history of the child or adolescent’s difficulties. A parent may be concerned that their child is socially isolated, depressed, anxious, or simply not coping with ordinary demands of life, or perhaps their child is having difficulty accepting the challenges associated with a learning disorder. During the assessment, the parents complete behavior rating scales, which assess observable behaviors related to their child’s emotional state. The child also completes self-report measures about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Objective behavior report measures are often supplemented with projective testing, which is more ambiguous and brings to light issues that the client may not be ready to talk about directly but are impacting their functioning nonetheless. When possible, projective measures are scored according to standardized criteria in order to increase objectivity, reliability, and validity. Areas assessed typically include one’s current emotional state, interpersonal functioning, coping skills, social- and self-perceptions, internal thought processes, and self-esteem and identity.

Measures commonly included in psychological assessment of social/emotional and personality functioning are listed below:

  • Behavior Assessment Scale for Children, Second Edition
  • Child Behavior Checklist
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory for Adolescents (MMPI-A)
  • Rorschach Inkblot Test
  • Thematic Apperception Test
  • Projective Drawings
  • Incomplete Sentences