Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is one of the most frequently used personality tests in mental health. The test is used by trained professionals to assist in identifying personality structure and psychopathology.


Current scale composition

Clinical scales

Scale 1 (AKA the Hypochondriasis Scale) : Measures a person's perception and preoccupation with their health and health issues., Scale 2 (AKA the Depression Scale) : Measures a person's depressive symptoms level., Scale 3 (AKA the Hysteria Scale) : Measures the emotionality of a person., Scale 4 (AKA the Psychopathic Deviate Scale) : Measures a person's need for control or their rebellion against control., Scale 5 (AKA the Femininity/Masculinity Scale) : Measures a stereotype of a person and how they compare. For men it would be the Marlboro man, for women it would be June Cleaver or Donna Reed., Scale 6 (AKA the Paranoia Scale) : Measures a person's inability to trust., Scale 7 (AKA the Psychasthenia Scale) : Measures a person's anxiety levels and tendencies., Scale 8 (AKA the Schizophrenia Scale) : Measures a person's unusual/odd cognitive, perceptual, and emotional experiences, Scale 9 (AKA the Mania Scale) : Measures a person's energy., Scale 0 (AKA the Social Introversion Scale) : Measures whether people enjoy and are comfortable being around other people.

The original clinical scales were designed to measure common diagnoses of the era.

Number Abbreviation Description What is measured No. of items
1 Hs Hypochondriasis Concern with bodily symptoms 32
2 D Depression Depressive Symptoms 57
3 Hy Hysteria Awareness of problems and vulnerabilities 60
4 Pd Psychopathic Deviate Conflict, struggle, anger, respect for society's rules 50
5 MF Masculinity/Femininity Stereotypical masculine or feminine interests/behaviors 56
6 Pa Paranoia Level of trust, suspiciousness, sensitivity 40
7 Pt Psychasthenia Worry, Anxiety, tension, doubts, obsessiveness 48
8 Sc Schizophrenia Odd thinking and social alienation 78
9 Ma Hypomania Level of excitability 46
0 Si Social Introversion People orientation 69

Codetypes are a combination of the one, two or three (and according to a few authors even four), highest-scoring clinical scales (ex. 4, 8, 2, = 482). Codetypes are interpreted as a single, wider ranged elevation, rather than interpreting each scale individually.

Validity scales

The validity scales in all versions of the MMPI-2 (MMPI-2 and RF) contain three basic types of validity measures: those that were designed to detect non-responding or inconsistent responding (CNS, VRIN, TRIN), those designed to detect when clients are over reporting or exaggerating the prevalence or severity of psychological symptoms (F, Fb, Fp, FBS), and those designed to detect when test-takers are under-reporting or downplaying psychological symptoms (L, K)). A new addition to the validity scales for the MMPI-2 RF includes an over reporting scale of somatic symptoms scale (Fs).

Abbreviation New in version Description Assesses
CNS 1 "Cannot Say" Questions not answered
L 1 Lie Client "faking good"
F 1 Infrequency Client "faking bad" (in first half of test)
K 1 Defensiveness Denial/Evasiveness
Fb 2 Back F Client "faking bad" (in last half of test)
VRIN 2 Variable Response Inconsistency answering similar/opposite question pairs inconsistently
TRIN 2 True Response Inconsistency answering questions all true/all false
F-K 2 F minus K honesty of test responses/not faking good or bad
S 2 Superlative Self-Presentation improving upon K scale, "appearing excessively good"
Fp 2 F-Psychopathology Frequency of presentation in clinical setting
Fs 2 RF Infrequent Somatic Response Overreporting of somatic symptoms

Supplemental Scales

To supplement these multidimensional scales and to assist in interpreting the frequently seen diffuse elevations due to the general factor (removed in the RC scales) were also developed, with the more frequently used being the substance abuse scales (MAC-R, APS, AAS), designed to assess the extent to which a client admits to or is prone to abusing substances, and the A (anxiety) and R (repression) scales, developed by Welsh after conducting a factor analysis of the original MMPI item pool.

Dozens of content scales currently exist, the following are some samples:

Abbreviation Description
Es Ego Strength Scale
OH Over-Controlled Hostility Scale
MAC MacAndrews Alcoholism Scale
MAC-R MacAndrews Alcoholism Scale Revised
Do Dominance Scale
APS Addictions Potential Scale
AAS Addictions Acknowledgement Scale
SOD Social Discomfort Scale
A Anxiety Scale
R Repression Scale
TPA Type A Scale
MDS Marital Distress Scale

PSY-5 scales

Unlike the Content and Supplementary scales, the PSY-5 scales were not developed as a reaction to some actual or perceived shortcoming in the MMPI-2 itself, but rather as an attempt to connect the instrument with more general trend in personality psychology. The five factor model of human personality has gained great acceptance in non-pathological populations, and the PSY-5 scales differ from the 5 factors identified in non-pathological populations in that they were meant to determine the extent to which personality disorders might manifest and be recognizable in clinical populations. The five components were labeled Negative Emotionality (NEGE), Psychoticism (PSYC), Introversion (INTR), Disconstraint (DISC) and Aggressiveness (AGGR).

See also

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