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MINERVA PSICHIATRICA

A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2017 September;58(3):135-43

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1772.17.01933-1

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The impact of breast cancer on the body, femininity and relations. A research through the Rorschach Test

Gabriella GANDINO, Doriana DIPAOLA, Valentina TRISCIO, Alessandra MONETTI, Antonella BERNAUDO

Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


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BACKGROUND: The study, part of a more extensive research, falls within the sphere of psychosomatic medicine and relies on the theoretical contribution of psychoanalytical authors. The goal was to study the influence of breast cancer and subsequent mastectomy surgery on the body and its boundaries, on the perception of femininity and inter-personal relations.
METHODS: The Rorschach Test was submitted to a group of 12 women who underwent a surgery because of breast cancer. The responses were scored and analysed through two scales: the Grid of Self-Representation and the Barrier and Penetration Scale. These additional tools, compared to traditional scoring, are based on the analysis of the response contents. They provide information on personal representation, stability or fragility of individual boundaries and possibility to establish and maintain functional inter-personal relations.
RESULTS: The identity and body integrity appear to be preserved in the sample. The Self Boundary is solid, despite some fragility areas are present. A significant concern for the health and body - lived as mutilated and missing parts - as well as an alteration of the perception of femininity stands out. Moreover, relation aptitudes characterised by regressive needs and focused on caring, a rigid defensive approach anchored to stable adaptive schemes, and preserved capacity to face traumatic situations, stand out.
CONCLUSIONS: The study encourages a reflection on the psychological dynamics following the disease that relate women after mastectomy. Moreover, it underscores the importance to propose an integrated treatment, focused on the needs of the single individual.


KEY WORDS: Rorschach test - Breast neoplasms - Mastectomy - Psychosomatic medicine - Psychoanalytic theory

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Publication History

Issue published online: July 19, 2017
Manuscript accepted: April 12, 2017
Manuscript received: April 6, 2017

Cite this article as

Gandino G, Dipaola D, Triscio V, Monetti A, Bernaudo A. The impact of breast cancer on the body, femininity and relations. A research through the Rorschach Test. Minerva Psichiatr 2017;58:135-43. DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1772.17.01933-1

Corresponding author e-mail

antonella.bernaudo@edu.unito.it