Assessing Aggressivity with Comprehensive System-Revised Part II

The Gacono Aggressivity Cluster (GAC)

  • Carl B. Gacono, PhD, ABAP
  • Jason M. Smith, PsyD, ABPP


The coding of Rorschach aggressive imagery, while essential, is not sufficient for assessing aggressivity. This evaluation requires an analysis of multiple personality domains and functions, such as nature and predominance of aggressive drive, impulse control, affect lability, inhibitory mechanisms, cognitive deficits, and conscious and unconscious attitudes (e.g., use of devaluation; internal identifications & imagery; Finney, 1955; Rose & Bitter, 1980). As personality attributes correlate with Rorschach variables and indices, the Rorschach contributes to identifying and confirming the nature and quality of an individual’s vulnerabilities. Ultimately, however, a determination of an individual’s aggressivity must be considered not only through the lens of psychometric data, but also within the context of a patient’s past behaviors and foreseeable future circumstances. In Part I of this II-part series, we provided an updated review for coding Rorschach aggressive imagery. In this article, Part II, we provide a framework (the Gacono Aggressivity Cluster [GAC]) for incorporating aggressive imagery and other Rorschach variables in assessing aggressivity (Gacono & Smith, 2022). 

Personality Assessment