Qualitative Content Analysis in Clinical Psychology to Explain the Pathomechanism of Personality Disorders

  • Emilia Soroko Adam Mickiewicz University
  • Michał Dolczewski Adam Mickiewicz University
Keywords: qualitative content analysis, clinical psychology, personality disorders, clinical explanatory assessment

Abstract

Qualitative content analysis (QCA) is a method for systematically describing qualitative data with the use of rule-bound procedures and human-generated interpretation. With this article we aim to reflect on the methodical aspect of QCA in the field of clinical psychology. After introducing the implementation of QCA procedures in clinical psychology and the diversity of content analytic-informed studies encountered in this field with special attention to coding frames, we present the problems and challenges that arise when using QCA in a more specific clinical context, namely, explanatory assessment of personality disorders. Beginning with the challenges (detecting clinically relevant information, explaining the pathomechanism, access to unconscious internal processes, role of relational information in assessment), we give possible solutions for the stage of data preparation and analysis. These include the balanced use of psychological theory and identifying patterns in data and in categories for explanation purposes; momentary process analysis aimed at assessing the dynamics of psychological life (intrapsychic and interpersonal); and relational context obtained from reflection on coding as a human process.

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Author Biographies

Emilia Soroko, Adam Mickiewicz University

Emilia SOROKO is an associate professor at the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Adam Mickiewicz University, Head of the Qualitative and Mixed Methods in Clinical Psychology Research Lab. Her methodological interests involve qualitative approaches, especially interview methods, content analysis, narrative analysis, and mixed methods. She is involved mostly in research projects in clinical psychology (personality pathology assessment) and narrative psychology.

Michał Dolczewski, Adam Mickiewicz University

Michał DOLCZEWSKI is a PhD student at the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Adam Mickiewicz University. His main research interests include clinical psychology, personality assessment, romantic relationships and a vast range of qualitative methods.

Published
2020-01-28
How to Cite
Soroko, E., & Dolczewski, M. (2020). Qualitative Content Analysis in Clinical Psychology to Explain the Pathomechanism of Personality Disorders. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.1.3432
Section
Discipline-Specific Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis