Sentence Completion Methods

Sentence Completion Methods 5

SentenceCompletion Methods

SentenceCompletion Methods

Sentencecompletion methods are among the most frequently used procedures forpersonality and attitude assessment (Frick, Barry, &amp Kamphaus,2011). It is an important tool for assessing intelligence, elicitingpsycho-diagnostic of individual’s need states, attitudes, andpersonality dynamics. School psychologists use sentence completionmethods for their psycho-education and personality assessments toreferred children and adolescents. Social scientists use the sentencecompletion technique as an assessment tool evaluating attitudinal andpersonality variables. It consists of a number of incompletesentences that an individual completes orally or in written. Thereare different methods in which psychologists administer sentencecompletion tests. They include The Rotter Incomplete sentenceBlanks, The Rohde Sentence Completion Method,The Sacks completionTest (SSCT), The Forer structured Sentence completion method, and TheMiale-Holsopple Sentence Completion Test (M-HSCT).

TheRotter Incomplete sentence Blanks (RISB) – It was primarily designedas a screening device where a 40-item test available in three formsis assigned a quantitative score. It provides an overall adjustmentindex score that is evaluated against published norms. It works as amore clinical tool since the diagnostic information obtained from itcan structure subsequent interviews and possibly help to developspecific treatment strategies for the person in question.

TheRohde Sentence Completion Method (RSCM) – It is a conceptual schemeof needs that assesses specific personality dynamics of anindividual. The methods generate diagnostic and personality-relatedhypotheses from the individual’s psychological motivations. Theadministrator interprets sentence completion responses of anindividual at three separate levels: a) at the overt content levelthat reveals attitudes and values that structure their inner andprivate world b) the latent content level that reveals theunderlying personally dynamics of the individual and c) at theglobal level where aspects of the entire protocol, including theactual structure and grammatical format of the responses from theindividual. It may indicate organic mental dysfunctions such asschizophrenia. This method does not have a formal scoring criterionbut has myriad examples and case presentations that use the Murray’sconceptual scheme of personality interpretation.

TheSacks Sentence Completion Method (SSCT) – The method was discoveredby Sacks and Levy in 1950 (Robins &amp Fraley, 2013). It usesstructured sentence completion tests that evaluate specific subjectattitudes in the individual. It uses four sentence stems to assesseach of 15 separate attitudes (e.g. toward friends, father, mother,fears, the future goals etc). The responses that the individual givesto each of the four sentence stems are grouped and rated individuallyusing a non-objective scoring system of a 3-point scale (Robins &ampFraley, 2013). It is designed to determine the degree of disturbancepresent. SSCT enables psychologists to identify specific areas ofdisturbance as well as an overview of interrelationships amongvarious attitudes in the individual.

TheForer Structured Sentence Completion Test- It consists of 100 highlystructured sentence stems to be completed by the person in question(Weiner &amp Greene, 2013). It is available for both males andfemales. It compels individuals to respond to material in seven majorareas such as affective level, aggressive tendencies etc. It does nothave a formal scoring system but the method assists the systematicinterpretation of the protocol and the development of interventionsthat address the individual’s specific personality andsocial-emotional issues and conflicts.

TheMiale-Holsopple Sentence Completion Test (M-HSCT) – The methodpresents nine types of response phrasing ( such as passive or activeresponse, amount of verbalization) that assists in the interpretationprocess (Knoff, 2012). It is completed without a time limit becauseauthors believe that the unconscious defense mechanism of anindividual may be more active in time-limited situations. It highlydepends on the skill and experience of the practitioner. Itfacilitates a more predictive means of inferring personality dynamicsthan other sentence completion methods that use more objectiveanalysis.


Frick,P. J., Barry, C. T., &amp Kamphaus, R. W. (2011). Clinicalassessment of child and adolescent personality and behavior.New York: Springer.

Knoff,H. M. (2012). TheAssessment of child and adolescent personality.New York: Guilford Press.

Robins,R., &amp Fraley, R. C. (2013). Handbookof Research Methods in Personality Psychology.New York: Guilford Publications.

Weiner,I. B., &amp Greene, R. L. (2013). Handbookof personality assessment.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.