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Johnson, M. (1959). British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXXI, 1958: Problems of T.A.T. Interpretation and the Diagnosis of Delinquent Trends. J. G. Lyle and A. A. Gilchrist. Pp. 51-59.. Psychoanal Q., 28:134.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXXI, 1958: Problems of T.A.T. Interpretation and the Diagnosis of Delinquent Trends. J. G. Lyle and A. A. Gilchrist. Pp. 51-59.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:134

British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXXI, 1958: Problems of T.A.T. Interpretation and the Diagnosis of Delinquent Trends. J. G. Lyle and A. A. Gilchrist. Pp. 51-59.

McClain Johnson

Six Thematic Apperception Test cards were administered to thirty-one delinquent and thirty-six nondelinquent boys, and it was found that there was little difference between the two groups in the number of aggressive and antisocial stories produced. There was, however, a statistically significant difference in the presence or absence of adequate defense mechanisms interposed between the impulses and the fantasied act. In the nondelinquent group a psychological distance between impulse and act was interposed by denial of the reality of the impulses, by inhibition due to guilt feelings, or by rationalization. The organization of the story, not its content, differentiated the two groups.

This research did not support the often quoted hypothesis that delinquency originates in guilt because of a need for punishment. On the contrary, the defenses of the nondelinquents are motivated by guilt whereas delinquents lack these defenses and show little evidence of guilty or self-punitive reactions.

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Article Citation

Johnson, M. (1959). British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXXI, 1958. Psychoanal. Q., 28:134

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