The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a psychological test used to diagnose mental disorders in individuals. Most mental health professionals prefer to use it due to its accuracy and convenience. Two individuals developed it; Starke R. Hathaway and J.C. McKinley. Hathaway is a psychologist while McKinley is a psychiatrist. The two came up with the clinical tool while performing their duties at the University of Minnesota. The MMPI is mainly used to assess personality disorders and psychosocial disorders. It is designed for adults who are over 18 years and adolescents who fall in the ages of 14-18 years (Butcher, 2014). It is used in both clinical practice and industrial use. Clinically, it is used by various mental health professionals to come up with appropriate treatment plans for patients. In the industrial context, it helps in the screening process during military personnel selection and other high-risk professions.
Test Description And Format
Hathaway and McKinley came up with the very first version of the test while at the University of Minnesota. They went public with the version in 1942. However, the version which is currently used is the MMPI 2 which was released in 1989. This newer version was meant for adults who were over 18 years, and it came with a few revisions of some elements. Another version, the MMPI-A, was released in 1992 and was meant to be administered to children. The adolescent version and adult version differ in a few ways. The adolescent version seeks to diagnose adolescent personality disorders and associated issues, in that case, it is considerably shorter, and the language used is more straightforward. Both the MMPI-A and MMPI-2 use a question format. However, the MMPI-A has 478 question items while the MMPI-2 has 567 question items (Cherry, 2013). Questions on the MMPI-A can either be answered as true or false, and the whole test takes approximately 45 minutes. The MMPI-2, on the other hand, could take up to 90 minutes to complete the test items.
The test items on the MMPI-A seek to evaluate an adolescent's attitude, thoughts and behavioural traits which make up personality. The results are then used to determine whether an adolescent shows any weaknesses or strengths. The test is crucial since it helps in identifying any personality disturbances which an adolescent may have. The MMPI-A uses various validity scales. These scales are handy as they ensure the validity of the test results. They also evaluate the test taker's attitude and response style. Some individuals may be cooperative while others may present a defensive attitude during a test. Each of the scales utilizes questions which help in pointing out specific personality traits. Some of the adolescent issues which may be uncovered include eating disorders, social problems, drug dependency and family conflicts. The MMPI-2 test can be administered in various formats. In one format, a test booklet and answer sheet are usually provided. The person taking the test then proceeds to answer the questions to the best of his or her understanding. Alternatively, there is the option of responding to the items on a personal computer. Under exceptional circumstances, the test items are usually transferred to an audiotape. This ensures that even the individuals who may be visually impaired or those who may not have adequate reading skills can take the test. Even though these exercises are usually referred to as tests, they are not typical tests as there are usually no wrong or right answers. The tests are mostly concerned with understanding the nature of an individual.
A newer version of the test, the MMPI-2-RF was released in 2008. It utilises only 338 question items where the response answer with either true or false. This version takes a considerably shorter time to compete compared with the other versions. However, it is not widely used due to its limited research base. There are ten clinical subscales. These scales are used to diagnose various categories of behaviour. Apart from the subscales, there are also four validity scales which test the general attitude of the person taking the test (Graham, 2015). The valid scales seek to ensure the people who decide to take the test do so in an accurate manner. Even though the scales have specific names, they do not measure authentic conditions since some conditions share symptoms. Due to this issue, psychologists prefer to use numbers instead of the scale names. Scale 1, otherwise called Hypochondriasis is used to diagnose one's concern for their bodily well-being. There are 32 question items which under this scale. The two areas of focus under this scale are physical health and gastrointestinal hardships. In an instance where an individual has issues with his or her back or abdomen, the issues can be revealed using this scale.
Scale 2 was designed to identify depression among the individuals taking the test. Some of the characteristics of depression include poor morale, hopelessness and a general disability to attain satisfaction out of one's life. The people who post very high scores after taking this test may be depressed. The ones who post average scores may also be depressed but to a smaller extent (Graham, 2015). There are 57 test items falling under this scale. Scale 3 also known as Hysteria was meant to diagnose individuals who may be hysteric in stressful situations. The scale focusses on five items. Shyness, headaches, ill health, cynicism and neuroticism. The subscale is made up of 60 items. Some of the trends associated with this scale are that individuals of higher socioeconomic status display higher scores compared to those of lower classes. Also, women display higher scores compared to men. Scale 4 or psychopathic deviate seeks to identify patients who may be psychopathic. Issues such as social deviation and amorality are diagnosed. It also seeks to know how individuals respond to authority. Individuals who display high scores after taking this test are said to be highly rebellious and psychopathic. The ones who display lower scores are said to be more welcoming to authority. Even though this scale seeks to diagnose psychotic disorders, many times, it has been used to reveal personality disorders. There are 50 items under the scale. Scale 5, otherwise called masculinity/femininity was initially designed to measure same-sex behaviour. However, this scale has proven to be mostly ineffective. Some of the factors which may lead to high scores on this scale include education, socioeconomic factors and intelligence (Butcher, 2014). It is common for women to display low scores on this test. There are 56 items covered under the scale.
Scale 6 or paranoia was intended to identify paranoia and its associated symptoms. Some of the symptoms of paranoia include suspiciousness, unchanging attitudes and increased sensitivity to issues. The individuals who display high scores on this scale are said to be paranoid. There are 40 items under this scale. Scale 7 is also called Psychasthenia. This is a scale that was intended to diagnose excessive doubts. Psychasthenia is no longer used as a label since its symptoms reflect another type of disorder known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Other issues diagnosed under this scale include compulsions and obsessions. There are 48 items included under this scale. Scale 8 or schizophrenia is a scale that was intended to measure bizarre or strange thinking. There is a total of 78 items covered under the scale. This is more than what is covered in any other scale. Some of the factors which are diagnosed include; strange perceptions, low-income family relations, inability to develop deep interests in issues, questions regarding one's self-worth and sexual difficulties (Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 2014). Unlike other scales, this has been said to be quite challenging to interpret. Scale 9 or hypomania was intended to diagnose excitement degrees. Some characteristics associated with hypomania include; mood elevation, irritability, acceleration of speech and motor activity as well as the flight of ideas.
Additionally, it can be used to diagnose depression periods. Forty-six question items are falling under this scale. Scale 0, also referred to as social introversion is unique since it was developed much later than the others. It measures an individual's tendency to withdraw from his or her social responsibilities and contacts (Framingham, 2015).
There are four available scoring options; Q global, Q-local, mail-in scoring and hand- scoring. Q-global is a web-based scoring system, Q-local is a computer-based scoring system, the mail-in scoring system is handling by Pearson while the hand-scoring option is handled by the individual himself or herself. After carrying out an MMPI-2 test, the psychologist proceeds to construct a report. The scores are usually referred to as "T-scores" and are graded on a scale which ranges from 30 to 120. Individuals who display T-scores which fall in the range of 50 to 65 are considered to be okay since those are "normal" scores(Framingham, 2015). However, those who fall below and above the specified ranges are usually subjects or interpretation by the psychologist. The T scores are usually interpreted in the context of the person undertaking the test. For instance, it may be unusual to detect high levels of energy/hypomania in senior citizen. This could, however, be a regular occurrence for a teen.
Just any person can not administer the MMPI-2 test. It is technical for most people, and therefore it can only be administered by an individual who is qualified to do so (Cherry, 2018). It is a psychological instrument that is protected by law and therefore it cannot be found online. Nowadays, the administration and scoring of the test are done by computer and therefore during this stages, a professional is not required. However, the interpretation of the T scores can only be made by a person trained to do so. The report that is usually written after the test takes into account all the psychological concerns an individual may have. According to Matz, Altepeter, and Perlman (2013), the generation of scores can be completed in four ways. It can be completed using licensed online resources, through the use of licensed software installed on one's computer, it can be outsourced to Pearson through the mail, and lastly, the process can be conducted by the individual himself or herself. Individuals who choose to do it themselves use answer keys and record forms (Butcher et al., 2014). Due to the availability of various scoring options, the costs of the services vary. The technology is also copyrighted by the University of Minnesota, and therefore clinicians wishing to use the service have to pay a specific fee. For those who may want to have the software installed on their PCs, they are required to pay an installation fee.
Both the MMPI-2 and MMPI-2-RF manuals come with the relevant information regarding their reliability. Within the manuals, there is also information regarding the standard error of measurement. Both instruments have also been subjected to thorough reliability analysis. To come up with the test-retest correlation, an analysis was conducted using 193 members of a particular normative sample. The test was conducted twice within one week. The test-retest correlations for both the MMPI-2 and the MMPI-2-RF fell within similar ranges. For the MMPI-2 instrument, the correlations ranged from .54 to .93.
Similarly, for the MMPI-2-RF, they ranged from.55 to.93. The standard errors of measurement for both instruments fall in the ranges of 2.65 to 6.71. These measurements are expressed in T-score values. When the instruments are used in non-clinical settings,...
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