Draw a person in the rain: A comparison of levels of stress and depression among adolescents

Suellen M Carney, Pace University


The quantification of projective elements of drawings has eluded psychologists for years. Although drawings have the advantage of being easy to administer, their wider acceptability requires standardization of scoring and interpretation. Because clinicians have found them to be useful diagnostically and able to provide information not possible to gain from self report, drawings are widely used. However, greater confidence in their diagnostic validity will be possible only when empirical scoring systems and norms are provided. In the present study, levels of stress and depression were compared with projective drawing responses of high school students using the Draw a Person in the Rain (DAPR) Test. A scoring system for the DAPR, which differentiates healthy and pathological groups was developed in the pilot phase of the study. The second administration, one year later, provided validity for the initial findings. The Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) was used to measure depression. The Life Events Scale for Adolescents (Coddington, 1972) was used to quantify stress. Significant relationships were found using zero order correlations to compute relationships between depression, stress, and the DAPR response category assigned according to the scoring system. A path analysis was used to study conceptual hypotheses concerning relationships between stress, depression, and DAPR group membership. Gender effects were also examined. Results support the validity and reliability of the DAPR, confirming hypotheses regarding the prediction of levels of depression and stress and DAPR group membership. Findings of the path analysis suggest an additive impact of stress on depression and a subsequent strong influence of depression on the type of DAPR response. The utility of, and implications for use of the DAPR and the scoring system developed in the study is examined in the context of clinical work by school and clinical psychologists with the adolescent population.

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Recommended Citation

Carney, Suellen M, "Draw a person in the rain: A comparison of levels of stress and depression among adolescents" (1992). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9305306.



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