Validating PPAT's symbolic meanings of emotional and cognitive functioning among children

Michal Bat Or, Rafi Ishai, Narkis Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study inquired into the symbolic content of PPAT drawings ( Gantt, 1990) of children age 5-6.5 years. An innovative scoring system (SC-PPAT/c: Symbolic Content in PPAT/children: Bat Or et al., 2014) was developed for scoring symbolic aspects in PPAT as related to the drawn objects in the drawing - person, tree, and apple - as well as their inter-relationships. Specifically, this study explored correlations between PPAT's symbolic content with cognitive (executive functions) and emotional behaviors, self-potency, and motivation of 126 children who were measured by valid tools, respectively: four BRIEF scales ( Gioia, Isquith, Guy, & Kenworthy, 2000), three CBCL scales - Child Behavior Check List ( Achenbach, 1991), CAMP - Child Adaptation and Measure of Potency ( Lev-Weizel, Besser, & Laish, 2005); and the CMS: Children's Motivation Scale ( Gerring et al., 1996). The SC-PPAT/c was found to be a reliable tool in terms of inter-rater reliability (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient range r= .785-.969) and valid in terms of significant associations with cognitive and emotional aspects. Significant negative correlations were found between low cognitive executive functions and the degree the person was drawn as being active in the picking process ( r= -.259, p<. 0.01), with trunk inclines toward the person ( r= -.283, p<. 0.01), and with degree of success in the picking process ( r= -.210, p<. 0.05). Significant and meaningful gender differences were found in regards to the relation of PPAT with all validity criterion variables. For example, while a positive strong correlation was found between girls' aggressiveness and the strength of the tree r= .363 ( p<. 0.01), a negative correlation was found between boy's aggressiveness and the quantity of apples on the tree r= -.392 ( p<. 0.01). Furthermore, while boys' PPAT was related to motivation, girls' PPAT was related to self-potency. The discussion deals with the possible meanings of the current results, especially in regard to gender differences in PPAT drawings. Replication studies using clinical groups and samples from different cultures will be needed to assess the generalizability of the results and the diagnostic potential of the SC-PPAT/c with clinical populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-319
Number of pages11
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • EF
  • Emotional problems
  • Motivation
  • PPAT
  • Potency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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