A Comparison of Two Repertory Grid Measures of Personal Construct Conflict

Main Article Content

Christopher C. O'Lansen
Ian T. Jones
Samantha L. Horvath
Eliwid Medellin
Katie Maupin
Hailey E. McDaniel-Johnson
Emery K. Thackerson
Megan Baker
James W. Grice


Intrapersonal conflicts have long been recognized as potential contributors to negative psychological and emotional states. Using repertory grids personal construct psychologists have developed methods for identifying implicative dilemmas, a type of conflict that arises from incongruous constructions of a person’s actual and ideal selves. Recent studies have reported greater numbers of implicative dilemmas among clinical samples when compared to controls. Another approach to conceptualizing and measuring intrapsychic conflicts is Chambers’ coordinate grid procedure, a modified repertory grid technique that assesses logical inconsistencies within a person’s construct system. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between implicative dilemmas and logical inconsistencies in a sample of college students. Previous studies have moreover reported positive associations between repertory grid measures of construct system conflict and standardized assessments of depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. These associations were also examined in this study. Results revealed no systematic relationship between implicative dilemmas and logical inconsistencies, and neither repertory grid index was associated with scores on the depression, anxiety, and self-esteem questionnaires. Actual-ideal self-discrepancies were found to be associated with self-esteem, however, and examination of two individual grids revealed the clinical utility of the repertory grid procedures.

Article Details

How to Cite
Christopher C. O’Lansen, Ian T. Jones, Samantha L. Horvath, Eliwid Medellin, Katie Maupin, Hailey E. McDaniel-Johnson, Emery K. Thackerson, Megan Baker, & James W. Grice. (2021). A Comparison of Two Repertory Grid Measures of Personal Construct Conflict. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 8(5), 98–113. https://doi.org/10.14738/assrj.85.10153


[1.] Freud, S. (1923). The ego and the id. (Rev. and newly ed. by J. Strachey. ed.). New York: Norton.
[2.] Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford University Press.
[3.] Festinger, L., & Carlsmith, J. M. (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58(2), 203.
[4.] Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: John Wiley.
[5.] Kelly, G. A. (1955). The Psychology of Personal Constructs: Vol. 2; Clinical Diagnosis and Psychotherpy. New York: Norton.
[6.] Slade, P. D., & Sheehan, M. J. (1979). The measurement of ‘conflict’ in repertory grids. British Journal of Psychology, 70(4), 519-524. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1979.tb01726.x
[7.] Sheehan, M. J. (1985). The process of change in the self-construing of a depressed patient: Clare. In Beail, N. (Ed.), Repertory Grid Technique and Personal Constructs (pp. 137-153). London: Croom Helm.
[8.] Feixas, G., & Saúl, L. A. (2004). The Multi-Center Dilemma Project: An investigation on the role of cognitive conflicts in health. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 7(1), 69-78. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1138741600004765
[9.] Montesano, A., López-González, M. A., Saúl, L. A., & Feixas, G. (2015). A review of cognitive conflicts research: a meta-analytic study of prevalence and relation to symptoms. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4(11), 2997-3006. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S91861
[10.] Feixas, G., Bados, A., García‐Grau, E., Paz, C., Montesano, A., Compañ, V., . . . & Medeiros‐Ferreira, L. (2016). A dilemma‐focused intervention for depression: A multicenter, randomized controlled trial with a 3‐month follow‐up. Depression and Anxiety, 33(9), 862-9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22510
[11.] Feixas, G., & Compañ, V. (2016). Dilemma-focused intervention for unipolar depression: A treatment manual. BMC psychiatry, 16(1), 235. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-016-0947-x
[12.] Chambers, W. V. (1983). Circumspection, preemption and personal constructs. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 11(2), 33-35. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1983.11.2.33
[13.] Chambers, W. V. (1985). A repertory grid measure of mandalas. Psychological Reports, 57(3, Pt 1), 923–928. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1985.57.3.923
[14]. Chambers, W. V., & Sanders, J. (1984). Alcoholism and logical consistency of personal constructs. Psychological Reports, 54(3), 882–882. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1984.54.3.882
[15.] Chambers, W. V., & Epting, F. R. (1985). Personality and personal construct logical consistency. Psychological Reports, 57(3), 1120. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1985.57.3f.1120
[16.] Dorough, S., Grice, J. W., & Parker, J. (2007). Implicative dilemmas and general psychological well-being. Personal Construct Theory & Practice, 4, 83-101. Retrieved from http://www.pcp-net.org/journal/pctp07/dorough07.pdf
[17.] Grice, J. W. (2002). Idiogrid: Software for the management and analysis of repertory grids.
[18.] Feixas, G., Saúl, L. A., & Ávila-Espada, A. (2009). Viewing cognitive conflicts as dilemmas: Implications for mental health. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 22(2), 141-169. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10720530802675755
[19.] Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
[20.] Goldsmith, R. E. (1986). Dimensionality of the Rosenberg self-esteem scale. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 1(2), 253-64.
[21.] Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied psychological measurement, 1(3), 385-401. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/014662167700100306
[22.] Radloff, L. S., & Teri, L. (1986). 6/Use of the center for epidemiological studies-depression scale with older adults. Clinical Gerontologist, 5(1-2), 119-136. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1300/J018v05n01_06
[23.] Derogatis, L. R., Lipman, R. S., Rickels, K., Uhlenhuth, E. H., Covi, L. (1974). The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL). In P. Pichot (Ed.), Psychological Measurements in Psychopharmacology (Vol. 7, pp. 79–110). Paris: Karger.
[24.] Higgins, E. T. 1999. When do self-discrepancies have specific relations to emotions? The second-generation question of Tangney, Niedenthal, Covert, and Barlow (1998). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(6), 1313–1317.
[25.] Barrett, P. (2006). Euclidean distance: Raw, normalized, and double-scaled coefficients. Unpublished paper retrieved from https://www.pbarrett.net/techpapers/euclid.pdf
[26.] Henrich, J., Heine, S., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X0999152X
[27.] Schulz, J. F., Barahmi-Rad, D., Beauchamp, J., & Henrich, J. (2018). The Origins of WEIRD Psychology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/d6qhu
[28.] Arnett, J. (2008). The weirdest people in the world. American Psychologist, 63(7), 602-14.
[29.] Feixas, G., Montesano, A., Compañ, V., Salla, M., Dada, G., Pucurull, O., Trujillo, A., Paz, C., Muñoz, D., Gasol, M., Saúl, L. A., Lana, F., Bros, I., Ribeiro, E., Winter, D., Carrera-Fernández, M. J., & Guàrdia, J. (2014). Cognitive conflicts in major depression: Between desired change and personal coherence. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53, 369–385.
[30] Soldevilla, J. M., Feixas, G., Varlotta, N. & Cirici, R. (2014). Characteristics of the Construct Systems of Women Victims of Intimate Partner Violence, Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 27:2, 105-119, DOI: 10.1080/10720537.2014.879521
[31.] Compañ, V., Feixas, G., Varlotta-Domínguez, N., Torres-Viñals, M, Aguilar-Alonso, A., Dada, G. & Saúl, L. A. (2011). Cognitive factors in fibromyalgia: The role of self-concept and identity related conflicts. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 24: 56-77. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 34, 338-341.
[32.] Feixas, G., Montebruno, C., Dada, G., del Castillo, M., & Compañ, V. (2010). Self construction, cognitive conflicts and polarization in bulimia nervosa. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 10(3), 445-457
[33.] Feixas, G., Montesano, A., Erazo-Caicedo, M. I., Compañ, V. & Pucurull, O. (2014). Implicative Dilemmas and Symptom Severity in Depression: A Preliminary and Content Analysis Study. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 27:1, 31-40. DOI: 10.1080/10720537.2014.850369

Most read articles by the same author(s)