What is Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)?

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is the most widely used today. This test has a very long history of applications in clinical practice and research in diagnosing psychological disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is developed by Starke Hathaway and J.C. Mckinley of the Minnesota University in 1943. MMPI is revised, updated, and new its version is termed MMPI-2.

MMPI is a questionnaire that is based on the 10 dimensions of personality. It consists of 550 items or statements with Yes, No, or I don’t know answers as an alternative. While taking the test subject reads each of the 550 items and decides whether or not it applies to him. For example, questions in the questionnaire like,

  • I seldom sit with strangers at a party
  • People often disappoint me

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2)

A revision of an MMPI, the MMPI-2 has 567 items with 10 clinical dimensions or scales. The wording of many of the original MMPI questions has been updated, and a few questions were deleted. The revised test contains the same scales and is scored the same way.

The biggest change in the new version is its standardization group. The standardization group of the MMPI-2 represents the diverse population of different ages, marital statuses, and ethnicity. This made the questionnaire acceptability more widely accepted by people in other cultures. The 10 scales of clinical disordered are:

Clinical Scales

  • Hypochondriasis – concerned with the bodily symptoms of excessive anxiety, about both physical and mental health in the absence of the actual disease.
  • Depression – Pessimism, hopelessness treatment.
  • Hysteria – uses sensory and motor symptoms to solve problems.
  • Psychopathic Deviation – antisocial tendencies, impulsive, and a disregard for social norms.
  • Masculinity/ Femininity – interests like those of the other sex, sex role conflict.
  • Paranoia – delusions, suspiciousness.
  • Psychasthenia – worried, guilt feelings, anxiety, insecurity.
  • Schizophrenia – withdrawn, bizarre thinking.
  • Hypomania – overactive, excited, impulsive, unrealistic goals.
  • Social Introversion – shy, lack of confidence, social anxiety.

The Validity or Control Scales

In addition to the above clinical scales, MMPI-2 also has other special scales, such as the 16 items anger scale. People who feel like swearing or smashing things usually get a high score on this scale. Likewise, MMPI-2 also consists of four validity of control scales which were designed to detect tendencies for test-takers to present themselves in a favorable light, or to assess other unusual ways of responding. These scales are:

  • L Scale – high L scores reveal an unrealistically favorable impression and the score is too good and virtuous to be true.
  • F Scale – high F score indicates severe psychopathological disturbances and represents rare characteristics.
  • K Scale – high K score indicates that the test taker was defensive and the answers chosen were designed to reduce biasing factors.

L, F, K items are part of the original MMPI. The updated MMPI-2 has added three more validity scales.

  • Fb Scale – measures whether or not the test taker was paying attention to the same items. It examines the subject attitudes to respond differently to the same items.
  • VRIN scale – determines whether or not the subject tends to respond inconsistently to MMPI-2 items. It reflects the subject’s random techniques to respond.
  • TRIN – It reflects the subject’s tendency to answer without actually knowing the real meaning of the item’s statement.

In general, the greater the number and magnitude of deviant scores of the MMPI-2 the more likely it is that the individual is severely disturbed. The MMPI has been translated into more than 22 languages and adapted use for in many nations and cultures.

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