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Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Assessment Example

Pages: 3

Words: 806

Assessment

Abstract

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychometric assessment that is used to measure various personality features as well as psychopathologic characteristics. This test is very popular as a tool in psychometric personality assessment and has been in usage in various forms since the early 1940s. The MMPI-2 is currently the most commonly used version of the test though the MMPI-2-RF is a newer and potentially better alternative. The test consists of over 500 questions that are measured on many scales, including ten validity scales, and the scores are standardized before being compared to norm values. The assessment has strength in its wide usage, but also suffers from consistency and reliability issues. These defects are often dismissed due to the commonality of the tool.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is one of the most commonly used psychological assessments in professional practice. This tool is employed to gain a measurement of a subject’s personality tendencies as well as to identify the possible development of psychopathological conditions. Since its inception in the early 1940s, the MMPI has undergone several revisions to address potential shortcomings in the design of the assessment. All versions of the MMPI are designed for the analysis of both males and females over the age of 18, with the exception of the MMPI-A, which is intended for the assessment of adolescents.

Development

The original MMPI was developed by Hathaway and McKinley at the University of Minnesota (hence the name) in the late 1930s and was published in 1942 under the title of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Schedule. The term “schedule” would be replaced with “inventory” in a 1943 revision by the authors. Hathaway and McKinley issued a major update in 1989 as the MMPI-2 to address validity issues such as a small sample size in determining baseline measurements, a lack of diversity among those who contributed and overly technical terminology. An alternate version of the MMPI-2 was released in 1992 for teenage subjects, while 2003 saw a major revision in the form of the MMPI-2-RF (Restructured Form) that shows promise to be an improvement to the assessment (Handel, R. W., & Archer, R. P., 2008). Several other altered versions of the MMPI-2, such as shorter tests, are also available though most have not received similar attention in the field. The unaltered MMPI-2 is currently the most commonly used version of the assessment.

Psychometric Properties

The MMPI-2 consists of 567 questions in a true or false format and can be usually completed in one to two hours. These items are measured based on ten different clinical scales related to personality and psychopathology including hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviance, masculinity/femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion. Validity scales number nine in total (ten in the RF version) and include the “L” scale, which was developed to identify attempts by the subjects to portray themselves positively, and the “K” scale, which is meant to detect evasiveness in subject responses. Along with clinical and validity, the full MMPI-2 assessment includes over 120 scales. The raw scores are transformed into standardized T-scores, which are used to compare the subject’s results to those of the norm groups that were included in the composition of the assessment.

Strengths and Limitations

The most obvious advantage of the MMPI-2 is the popularity of the assessment tool, ensuring some level of coordination with the field as well as access to a large amount of research in which the test is utilized. The inclusion of validity scales aids in controlling for and/or removing several confounding variables (Morasco, Gfeller, and Elder, 2007). Additionally, the use of standardized scores provides an unambiguous reference point for comparisons to the established norm.

There are several limitations when employing the MMPI-2. The length of the test is a concern as people may lose interest or become fatigued, and mental health professionals that administer and/or score the test require some level of training. The sample groups used to obtain norm scores may not be representative of their populations, and the need to interpret the mathematical results introduces subjectivity to the process. Perhaps most importantly, the MMPI-2 does not meet the usual statistical standards for some validity and reliability evaluations (Wise, Streiner and Walfish, 2010). However, these violations are frequently overlooked in favor of familiarity.

 

References

Handel, R. W., & Archer, R. P. (2008). An investigation of the psychometric properties of the MMPI-2 Restructured Clinical (RC) Scales with mental health inpatients. Journals of Personality Assessment, 90(3), 239-249.

Morasco, B. J., Gfeller, J. D., & Elder, K. A. (2007) The utility of the NEO-PI-R validity scales to detect response distortion: A comparison with the MMPI-2. Journal of Personality Assessment, 88(3), 276-283.

Wise, E. A., Streiner, D. L., & Walfish, S. (2010). A review and comparison of the reliabilities of the MMPI-2, MCMI-III and PAI presented in their respective test manuals. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 42(4), 246-254.

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