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J Pers Assess. 1992 Oct;59(2):340-51.

The analysis of descriptions of parents: identification of a more differentiated factor structure.

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  • 1Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.


The analysis of spontaneous descriptions of parents has proven to be a valuable procedure for assessing an individual's perceptions of caring experiences with their parents. The procedure has been useful in a number of research investigations. Blatt, Chevron, Quinlan, Schaffer, and Wein (1988) revised the scoring procedures in a new manual for this procedure. This study examined aspects of the reliability and validity of this new scoring system. The parental descriptions of 134 female and 79 male students from two universities were scored using the revised manual. An analysis of ratings from the new scoring procedures lead to a differentiation of negative punitive items from positive ambitious items. Three factors and a Length factor emerged; the four factors accounted for 71% of the variance. Three factors-Benevolent, Punitive, and Ambitious-were correlated in meaningful ways with relevant scales of the Semantic Differential, the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (Zung, 1972), and the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (Blatt, D'Afflitti, & Quinlan, 1976). The results provide construct validity for this new factor solution for evaluating the descriptions given by individuals of significant figures in their lives.

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