This guide focuses on the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). There are many psychological assessment tools available that help psychologists in diagnosing the patients or checking the severity of symptoms but below is the detailed history, items and validity of MMPI.

What is MMPI?

To help identify behavioural, social and personal problems in psychiatric patients, The Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory was developed and revised over the years. Vast researches have been conducted on the use and validity of this scale, because of which it is very popular among mental health professionals.

MMPI

Overview of MMPI

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is the most commonly used and validated clinical screening method used by practitioners in mental health to help in the diagnosis of mental health disorders. It was developed by the end of the 1930s and since then, it has been updated and revised several times so that its accuracy and validity can be improved. MMPI-2 takes almost sixty to ninety minutes to finish 567 true and false questions, whereas, MMPI-2-RF consists of 338 true and false questions.

The newer version of MMPI is the MMPI-2-RF and takes about forty to fifty minutes to complete, but because of the large research base and psychologists’ familiarity with the test, the MMPI-2 is the version that is still widely used.

There is another version that is designed specifically for teenagers is the MMPI-A.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a psychological tool, considered to be only used, employed and interpreted by a trained psychologist. This test cannot be found online. Even though nowadays, it is administered through a computer and without any professional supervision but it is always headed by clinical interview. 

When the test is completed and the computer provides the test score, psychologists make a report that interprets those results having in mind the examinee’s personal history and psychological concerns.

History of MMPI

In 1937, the clinical psychologist Starke R. Hathaway along with a neuropsychiatrist J. Charnley Mckinley developed the most frequently used clinical testing tool, The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), at the University of Minnesota. It has been researched extensively and even though it is not considered perfect but it stays to be an important instrument in diagnosing mental illness and its treatment.

Types of MMPI

  • MMPI-2
  • MMPI-2-RF
  • MMPI-A
  • MMPI-A-RF

Use of MMPI

  • The use of the MMPI is not only confined to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses but it has also been adopted in the fields outside of Clinical psychology. For instance, MMPI-2 is vastly utilized in legal cases like custody disputes and criminal defence
  • It has a use as a screening tool for certain professions, especially when it comes to hiring people for high-risk jobs
  • In order to examine and check the effectiveness of treatment programs, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is used

Revisions of MMPI

When the test was first published, it went under a lot of criticism regarding its accuracy. Other points that were raised by the critics were

·        The inadequacy of the sample group

·        There were possible indications of test bias

·        There were racist and sexist questions

In the late 1980s, after such great criticism, the test went under revision. Many questions were reworded and some were removed. Many new questions were added and in that revised test, new validity scales were employed.

The revised version of MMPI was published as the MMPI-2 in 1989. The test was modified in 2001 again and then in 2003 and 2009, it got updated. MMPI-2 is still in use today as the most widely used clinical assessment tool.

As an alternative to the MMPI-2, the latest edition of MMPI was released in 2008 and named as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF). However, the MMPI-2 is used more than the MMPI-2-RF.

For teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, MMPI-A is released in 1992. It takes approximately an hour to complete 478 questions. The revised version of MMPI- A was released in 2016 named The Minnesota Inventories and Adolescents Restructured Form (MMPI-A-RF). This version is shorter than only takes 25 to 45 minutes to answer 241 questions.

Administration of MMPI

MMPI

Containing 567 items, The MMPI-2 can take almost 60 to 90 minutes to complete. While the revised version, MMPI-2-RF takes 35 to 50 minutes to complete as it contains 338 test items. The clinicians who want to administer this test have to pay as the University of Minnesota has the copyrights of the MMPI. 

Clinical psychologists or psychiatrists who have the training in using the MMPI should employ, score and interpret the test. Furthermore, MMPI should not be used solely to make a diagnosis. Instead, it should be used with other scales and a thorough clinical interview.

The test is made to be administered individually or in groups. Computerized versions of MMPI are also available. MMPI-2 and MMPI-2-RF are used with individuals 18 years old and older. Scoring can be done by hand or through a computer but the interpretation is always done by a qualified and MMPI trained mental health professional.

10 Clinical Scales on MMPI

The MMPI-2 and the MMPI-A have 10 scales, used for various psychological conditions. The MMPI-2-RF and the MMPI-A-RF have different scales. Although there are names for each scale they are not pure measure because symptoms are overlapping in many conditions. This is why most psychologists use numbers for each scale.

Following are the clinical scales on the MMPI-2 and the MMPI-A:

Scale 1—Hypochondriasis: 

  • This scale was designed to evaluate a neurotic concern for the function of the body
  • Items of this scale concern Physical symptoms and well-being
  • It was first designed to identify patients with hypochondriac symptoms

Scale 2—Depression:

  • Originally this scale is intended to show a depression that is marked by poor morals, lack of hope for the future and general discontent with the very circumstance of life
  • High scores indicate depression, moderate scores reveal dissatisfaction with life

Scale 3—Hysteria: 

  • This scale initially was intended to identify those who are undergoing stressful conditions with hysteria or physical complaints
  • Women tend to score higher than men and those with high social background and good education also tend to score higher

Scale 4—Psychopathic deviate: 

  • The scale has been originally developed to classify patients with psychopathy
  • It tests social regression, lack of authority and amorality, meaning not upholding morale
  • It is an indicator of disobedience and antisocial behaviour
  • High scorers mean more defiance, and low scorers mean accepting authority more
  • Regardless of the name of this scale, high scorers typically indicated personality disorder rather than psychotic.

Scale 5—Masculinity-femininity: 

  • The original authors developed this scale to identify homosexual tendencies, but it was found to be largely unsuccessful
  • It aims to show how much or how little a person identifies with the interests of his or her gender.

Scale 6—Paranoia: 

  • Initially, this scale was developed to identify patients with paranoid symptoms, including suspicion, persecutory feelings, grandiosity, excess sensitivity, and rigidity
  • People with high scores on this scale tend to be paranoid or psychotic.

Scale 7—Psychasthenia: 

  • The items included in this scale reflect anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression
  • It was initially used to test compulsions, excessive doubts, obsessions and fears
  • Today, this label is not used

Scale 8—Schizophrenia: 

  • The scale was originally developed to identify psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • It represents a wide range of areas including abnormal thinking processes and personal beliefs, social alienation, poor family relationships, difficulty in focus and impulsive control, lack of fundamental interests, disturbing self-worth and self-identity issues and sexual difficulties.
  • It could show the potential misuse of drugs, psychological or social isolation, eccentricity and insufficient attention to others.

Scale 9—Hypomania: 

This scale has been developed to classify hypomania’s symptoms, such as high mood, grandeur delusions, paranoia, motor and speeding speech, a flight of ideas, irritability, and short depression periods.

Scale 10—Social introversion: 

MMPI

This scale was developed later, it measures the shyness of a person and his or her tendency to avoid social responsibilities and contacts

Validity Scales in MMPI

All MMPI tests use different kinds of validity scales to determine whether the answers of each person are accurate or not. Considering that these tests can be used in situations, such as work interviews and custody trials, examinees may not be fully honest in their responses. Validity scales will indicate the accuracy of the test and how much the answers are distorted.

The MMPI-2 uses these validity scales:

  • The L (Lie) scale: this indicates that whether the respondent is answering honestly or is he trying to alter his answers
  • The F scale: this indicates whether the respondent is answering in an unusual manner
  • The K scale: this shows if the candidate is being defensive
  • The cannot (?) say scale: it calculates the total number of questions left unanswered
  • TRIN scale: it shows fixed patterns when the candidate is being defiant
  • VRIN Scale: this shows how much a candidate is consistent with his responses
  • The FB scale: this scale is used to measure the changes a person makes in his responses during the first half of the test versus the second half
  • The Fp scale: this scale helps to identify intentional over-reporting in candidates who have a mental health problem
  • The FBS scale: this is a symptom validity scale for those who claim to have a personal injury or disability
MMPI

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a psychological tool, considered to be only used, employed and interpreted by a trained psychologist. This test cannot be found online. Even though nowadays, it is administered through a computer and without any professional supervision but it is always headed by clinical interview.

The test has been updated and revised several times so that its accuracy and validity can be improved. MMPI-2 takes almost sixty to ninety minutes to finish 567 true and false questions, whereas, MMPI-2-RF consists of 338 true and false questions. For teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, MMPI-A is released in 1992. It takes approximately an hour to complete 478 questions. Its revised version is the shorter version.

The MMPI-2 and the MMPI-A have 10 scales, used for various psychological conditions and to check whether the respondent has answered questions honestly, there have been validity scales.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to prepare for this test?

MMPI is not a conventional aptitude test and it targets certain aspects of your mental health. It is not a test that you can prepare for as such but you can work on your emotional intelligence before taking it.

What does the MMPI test measure?

This test is designed to assess different aspects of your personality and it is more clinical than other personality tests. This test will test how well adjusted you are and how mentally healthy you are.

Is the MMPI test reliable?

MMPI test has been used by professionals for quite some time and it has been researched a lot. It has been proven the most valid and reliable test.

Is it an objective test?

Yes, MMPI is the best known objective personality tool that was created to measure psychopathology.

Please feel free to ask questions and give your comments and suggestions in the comments section below.

 References

Psychcentral

Very Well Mind

Recommended Reading

A Beginner’s Guide to the MMPI-2

The MMPI, MMPI-2 & MMPI-A in Court: A Practical Guide for Expert Witnesses and Attorneys

Essentials of MMPI-2 and MMPI-A Interpretation, Second Edition 2nd (second) Edition by Butcher, James N., Williams, Carolyn L. published by Univ Of Minnesota Press (2000)

The MMPI-2/MMPI-2-RF: An Interpretive Manual (3rd Edition)

MMPI-A: Assessing Adolescent Psychopathology

 

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