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Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Definition

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, known as the MMPI, and its revised second edition (MMPI-2) are psychological assessment instruments completed by the person being evaluated, and scored and interpreted by the examiner. The clinician evaluates the test taker's personal characteristics by comparing the test taker's answers to those given by various psychiatric and nonpsychiatric comparison groups. By analyzing the test taker's patterns of response to the test items, the examiner is able to draw some tentative conclusions about the client's level of adaptation, behavioral characteristics, and personality traits. The MMPI-2 is preferred to the older MMPI because of its larger and more representative community comparison group (also referred to as the "normative" group). The original version of the MMPI is no longer available from the publisher, although some institutions continue to use old copies of it.

Purpose

The results of the MMPI-2 allow the test administrator to make inferences about the client's typical behaviors and way of thinking. The test outcomes help the examiner to determine the test taker's severity of impairment, outlook on life, approaches to problem solving, typical mood states, likely diagnoses, and potential problems in treatment. The MMPI-2 is used in a wide range of settings for a variety of procedures. The inventory is often used as part of inpatient psychiatric assessments, differential diagnosis , and outpatient evaluations. In addition, the instrument is often used by expert witnesses in forensic settings as part of an evaluation of a defendant's mental health, particularly in criminal cases. The MMPI has also been used to evaluate candidates for employment in some fields, and in educational counseling.

Precautions

Although the MMPI-2 may be administered by trained clerical staff or by computer, for best results the examiner should meet the test taker before giving the test in order to establish the context and reassure the client. Most importantly, the test responses should be interpreted only by a qualified mental health professional with postgraduate education in psychological assessment and specialized training in the use of the MMPI-2. While computer-generated narrative reports are available and can be a useful tool, they should be evaluated (and edited if needed) by the on-site professional to individualize the reported results. Computer scoring and hypothesis generation is complex, and only reputable software programs should be used.

Although the MMPI-2 may yield extensive information about the client, it is not a replacement for a clinical interview. The clinical interview helps the test administrator to develop conclusions that best apply to the client from the many hypotheses generated from test results. Furthermore, important aspects of the client's behaviors may emerge in an interview that were not reflected in the test results. For similar reasons, the test results should not be interpreted until the clinician has obtained a biopsychosocial history from the client.

The MMPI-2 should be administered as part of a battery, or group, of tests rather than as an isolated assessment measure. A comprehensive assessment of a person will typically include the Rorschach technique , the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) or the Sentence Completion Test, and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale , Revised (WAIS-R) or similar test of cognitive functioning as well as the MMPI-2.

Description

The MMPI-2 is composed of 567 true/false items. It can be administered using a printed test booklet and an answer sheet filled in by hand, or by responding to the items on a computer. For the person with limited reading skills or the visually impaired respondent, the MMPI-2 items are available on audiotape. Although the MMPI-2 is frequently referred to as a test, it is not an academic test with "right" and "wrong" answers. Personality inventories like the MMPI-2 are intended to discover what the respondent is like as a person. A number of areas are "tapped into" by the MMPI-2 to answer such questions as: "Who is this person and how would he or she typically feel, think and behave? What psychological problems and issues are relevant to this person?" Associations between patterns of answers to test items and particular traits or behaviors have been discovered through personality research conducted with the MMPI-2. The inventory items are not arranged into topics or areas on the test. The areas of personality that are measured are interspersed in a somewhat random fashion throughout the MMPI-2 booklet. Some examples of true-or-false statements similar to those on the MMPI-2 are: "I wake up with a headache almost every day"; "I certainly feel worthless sometimes"; "I have had peculiar and disturbing experiences that most other people have not had"; "I would like to do the work of a choir director."

The MMPI-2 is intended for use with adults over age 18; a similar test, the MMPI-A, is designed for use with adolescents. The publisher produces the MMPI-2 in English and Spanish versions. The test has also been translated into Dutch-Flemish, two French dialects (France and Canada), German, Hebrew, Hmong, Italian, and three Spanish dialects (for Spain, Mexico or United States).

From the 1940s to the 1980s, the original MMPI was the most widely used and most intensely researched psychological assessment instrument in the United States and worldwide. The test was originally developed in 1943 using a process called empirical keying, which was an innovation. Most assessment tools prior to the MMPI used questions or tasks that were merely assumed by the test designer to realistically assess the behaviors under question. The empirical keying process was radically different. To develop empirical keying, the creators of the original MMPI wrote a wide range of true-or-false statements, many of which did not directly target typical psychiatric topics. Research was then conducted with groups of psychiatric inpatients, hospital visitors, college students and medical inpatients, who took the MMPI in order to determine which test items reliably differentiated the psychiatric patients from the others. The test developers also evaluated the items that reliably distinguished groups of patients with a particular diagnosis from the remaining pool of psychiatric patient respondents; these items were grouped into subsets referred to as clinical scales.

An additional innovation in the original MMPI was the presence of validity scales embedded in the test questions. These sets of items, scattered randomly throughout the MMPI-2, allow the examiner to assess whether the respondent answered questions in an open and honest manner, or tried to exaggerate or conceal information. One means of checking for distortions in responding to the instrument is asking whether the test taker refused to admit to some less-than-ideal actions that most people probably engage in and will admit to doing. An example of this type of question would be (true or false) "If I could sneak into the county fair or an amusement park without paying, I would." Another type of validity check that assesses honesty in responses is whether the client admits to participating in far more unusual behaviors and actions than were admitted to by both the psychiatric comparison group and the general community sample. The validity scales also identify whether the test taker responded inconsistently or randomly.

The MMPI-2, which has demonstrated continuity and comparability with its predecessor, was published in1989. The revised version was based on a much larger and more racially and culturally diverse normative community comparison group than the original version. Also, more in-depth and stringent research on the qualities and behaviors associated with different patterns of scores allows improved accuracy in predicting test-respondents' traits and behaviors from their test results.

Results

The true/false items are organized after scoring into validity, clinical, and content scales. The inventory may be scored manually or by computer. After scoring, the configuration of the test taker's scale scores is marked on a profile form that contrasts each client's responses to results obtained by the representative community comparison group. The clinician is able to compare a respondent's choices to those of a large normative comparison group as well as to the results derived from earlier MMPI and MMPI-2 studies. The clinician forms inferences about the client by analyzing his or her response patterns on the validity, clinical and content scales, using published guidebooks to the MMPI-2. These texts are based on results obtained from over 10,000 MMPI/MMPI-2 research studies.

In addition to the standard validity, clinical, and content scales, numerous additional scales for the MMPI have been created for special purposes over the years by researchers. These special supplementary scale scores are often incorporated into the examiner's interpretation of the test results. Commonly used supplementary scales include the MacAndrews Revised Alcoholism Scale, the Addiction Potential Scale, and the Anxiety Scale. The clinician may also choose to obtain computerized reporting, which yields behavioral hypotheses about the respondent, using scoring and interpretation algorithms applied to a commercial database.

Resources

BOOKS

Butcher, J. N., W. G. Dahlstrom, J. R. Graham, A. Tellegen, and B. Kaemmer. MMPI-2: Manual for Administration, Scoring and Interpretation. Revised. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Butcher, J. N. and C. L. Williams. Essentials of MMPI-2 and MMPI-A Interpretation. Revised. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

Graham, John R. MMPI-2: Assessing Personality and Psychopathology. 3rd edition, revised. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Graham, John R., Yossef S. Ben-Porath, and John L. McNulty. MMPI-2: Correlates for Outpatient Community Mental Health Settings. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

PERIODICALS

McNulty, J. L., J. R. Graham, and Y. Ben-Porath. "An empirical examination of the correlates of well-defined and not defined MMPI-2 codetypes." Journal of Personality Assessment 71 (1998): 393-410.

Deborah Rosch Eifert, Ph.D.

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"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory." Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory." Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/psychology/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minnesota-multiphasic-personality-inventory

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Definition

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2; MMPI-A) is a written psychological assessment , or test, used to diagnose mental disorders.

Purpose

The MMPI is used to screen for personality and psychosocial disorders in adults (i.e., over age 18) and adolescents age 14 to 18. It is also frequently administered as part of a neuropsychological test battery to evaluate cognitive functioning.

Description

The original MMPI was developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 1942. The current standardized version for adults 18 and over, the MMPI-2, was released in 1989, with a subsequent revision of certain test elements in early 2001. The MMPI-A, a version of the inventory developed specifically for adolescents age 14 to 18, was published in 1992.

The adolescent inventory is shorter than the standard adult version, was developed at a sixth-grade reading level, and is geared towards adolescent issues and personality "norms." The MMPI-A has 478 true/false items, or questions, (compared to 567 items on the MMPI-2) and takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete (compared to 60 to 90 minutes for the MMPI-2). There is also a short form of the test that is comprised of the first 350 items from the long-form MMPI-A.

The questions asked on the MMPI-A are designed to evaluate the thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and behavioral traits that comprise personality. The results of the test reflect an adolescent's personality strengths and weaknesses, and may identify certain disturbances of personality (psychopathologies) or mental deficits caused by neurological problems.

There are eight validity scales and ten basic clinical or personality scales scored in the MMPI-A, and a number of supplementary scales and subscales that may be used with the test. The validity scales are used to determine whether the test results are actually valid (i.e., if the test taker was truthful, answered cooperatively and not randomly) and to assess the test taker's response style (i.e., cooperative, defensive). Each clinical scale uses a set or subset of MMPI-A questions to evaluate a specific personality trait. Some were designed to assess potential problems that are associated with adolescence , such as eating disorders, social problems, family conflicts, and alcohol or chemical dependency.

Precautions

The MMPI should be administered, scored, and interpreted by a qualified clinical professional trained in its use, preferably a psychologist or psychiatrist. The MMPI is only one element of psychological assessment, and should never be used as the sole basis for a diagnosis. A detailed history of the test subject and a review of psychological, medical, educational, or other relevant records are required to lay the groundwork for interpreting the results of any psychological measurement.

Cultural and language differences in the test subject may affect test performance and may result in inaccurate MMPI results. The test administrator should be informed before psychological testing begins if the test taker is not fluent in English and/or has a unique cultural background.

Preparation

The administrator should provide the test subject with information on the nature of the test and its intended use, and complete standardized instructions for taking the MMPI (including any time limits, and information on the confidentiality of the results).

The MMPI should be scored and interpreted by a trained professional. When interpreting test results for test subjects, the test administrator will review what the test evaluates, its precision in evaluation and any margins of error involved in scoring, and what the individual scores mean in the context of overall norms for the test and the background of the test subject.

Risks

There are no risks involved in taking the MMPI. However, parents should try to make sure the test is properly administered, and the results evaluated appropriately, to avoid an unnecessary negative label on their child.

Parental concerns

Test anxiety can have an impact on a child's performance, so parents should attempt to take the stress off their child by making sure they understand that the MMPI is not an achievement test and the child's honest answers are all that is required. Parents can also ensure that their children are well-rested on the testing day and have a nutritious meal beforehand.

When interpreting test results for parents, the test administrator will review what the test evaluates, its precision in evaluation and any margins of error involved in scoring, and what the individual scores mean in the context of overall norms for the test and the background of the adolescent.

See also Psychological tests.

Resources

BOOKS

Braaten, Ellen and Gretchen Felopulos. Straight Talk About Psychological Testing for Kids. New York: Guilford Press, 2003.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Psychological Association. Testing and Assessment Office of the Science Directorate. 750 First St., N.E., Washington, DC 200024242. (202)3366000. Web site: <www.apa.org/science/testing.html>.

WEB SITES

Pearson Assessments. The MMPI-A. Available online at: <www.pearsonassessments.com/tests/mmpia.htm> (accessed September 10, 2004).

Paula Ford-Martin

KEY TERMS

Neuropsychological testing Tests used to evaluate patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, brain damage, or organic neurological problems (e.g., dementia). It may also be used to evaluate the progress of a patient who has undergone treatment or rehabilitation for a neurological injury or illness.

Norms A fixed or ideal standard; a normative or mean score for a particular age group.

Psychopathology The study of mental disorders or illnesses, such as schizophrenia, personality disorder, or major depressive disorder.

Standardization The process of determining established norms and procedures for a test to act as a standard reference point for future test results.

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"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minnesota-multiphasic-personality-inventory

"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minnesota-multiphasic-personality-inventory

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)

Definition

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2; MMPI-A) is a written psychological assessment, or test, used to diagnose mental disorders.

Purpose

The MMPI is used to screen for personality and psychosocial disorders in adults and adolescents. It is also frequently administered as part of a neuropsychological test battery to evaluate cognitive functioning.

Precautions

The MMPI should be administered, scored, and interpreted by a clinical professional trained in its use, preferably a psychologist or psychiatrist. The MMPI is only one element of psychological assessment, and should never be used alone as the sole basis for a diagnosis. A detailed history of the test subject and a review of psychological, medical, educational, or other relevant records are required to lay the groundwork for interpreting the results of any psychological measurement.

Cultural and language differences in the test subject may affect test performance and may result in inaccurate MMPI results. The test administrator should be informed before psychological testing begins if the test taker is not fluent in English and/or has a unique cultural background.

Description

The original MMPI was developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 1942. The current standardized version for adults 18 and over, the MMPI-2, was released in 1989, with a subsequent revision of certain test elements in early 2001. The MMPI-2 has 567 items, or questions, and takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete. There is a short form of the test that is comprised of the first 370 items on the long-form MMPI-2. There is also a version of the inventory for adolescents age 14 to 18, the MMPI-A.

The questions asked on the MMPI are designed to evaluate the thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and behavioral traits that comprise personality. The results of the test reflect an individual's personality strengths and weaknesses, and may identify certain disturbances of personality (psychopathologies) or mental deficits caused by neurological problems.

There are six validity scales and ten basic clinical or personality scales scored in the MMPI-2, and a number of supplementary scales and subscales that may be used with the test. The validity scales are used to determine whether the test results are actually valid (i.e., if the test-taker was truthful, answered cooperatively and not randomly) and to assess the test-taker's response style (i.e., cooperative, defensive). Each clinical scale uses a set or subset of MMPI-2 questions to evaluate a specific personality trait. The MMPI should always be administered in a controlled environment by a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional trained in its use.

Preparation

The administrator should provide the test subject with information on the nature of the test and its intended use, complete standardized instructions to taking the MMPI (including any time limits, and information on the confidentiality of the results).

Normal results

The MMPI should be scored and interpreted by a trained professional. When interpreting test results for test subjects, the test administrator will review what the test evaluates, its precision in evaluation and any margins of error involved in scoring, and what the individual scores mean in the context of overall norms for the test and the background of the test subject.

Resources

BOOKS

Graham, John R. MMPI-2: Assessing Personality and Psychopathology. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

ORGANIZATIONS

ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation. 1131 Shriver Laboratory Bldg 075, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. (800) 464-3742. http://www.ericae.net.

KEY TERMS

Neuropsychological testing Tests used to evaluate patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, brain damage, or organic neurological problems (e.g., dementia). It may also be used to evaluate the progress of a patient who has undergone treatment or rehabilitation for a neurological injury or illness.

Norms Normative or mean score for a particular age group.

Psychopathology A mental disorder or illness, such as schizophrenia, personality disorder, or major depressive disorder.

Standardization The process of determining established norms and procedures for a test to act as a standard reference point for future test results.

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"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minnesota-multiphasic-personality-inventory-mmpi-2

"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minnesota-multiphasic-personality-inventory-mmpi-2

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Gathers information on personality, attitudes, and mental health.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a test used to gather information on personality, attitudes, and mental health of persons aged 16 or older and to aid in clinical diagnosis. It consists of 556 true-false questions, with different formats available for individual and group use. The MMPI is untimed and can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete. This is normally done in a single session, but can be extended to a second session if necessary. Specific conditions or syndromes that the test can help identify include hypochondriasis, depression , hysteria, paranoia , and schizophrenia . Raw scores based on deviations from standard responses are entered on personality profile forms to obtain the individual results. There is also a validity scale to thwart attempts to "fake" the test. Because the MMPI is a complex test whose results can sometimes be ambiguous (and/or skewed by various factors), professionals tend to be cautious in interpreting it, often preferring broad descriptions to specific psychiatric diagnoses, unless these are supported by further testing and observable behavior. A sixth-grade reading level is required in order to take the test. However, a tape-recorded version is available for those with limited literacy, visual impairments, or other problems.

Further Reading

Aylward, Elizabeth H. Understanding Children's Testing: Psychological Testing. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed, 1991.

Blau, Theodore H. The Psychological Examination of the Child. New York: J. Wiley & Sons, 1991.

Knoff, Howard M. The Assessment of Child and Adolescent Personality. New York: Guilford Press, 1986.

McCullough, Virginia. Testing and Your Child: What You Should Know About 150 of the Most Common Medical, Educational, and Psychological Tests. New York: Plume, 1992.

O'Neill, Audrey Myerson. Clinical Inference: How to Draw Meaningful Conclusions from Psychological Tests. Brandon, VT: Clinical Psychology Publishing Co., 1993.

Walsh, W. Bruce, and Nancy E. Betz. Tests and Assessment. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.

Wodrich, David L., and Sally A. Kush. Children's Psychological Testing: A Guide for Nonpsychologists. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co., 1990.

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"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory." Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minnesota-multiphasic-personality-inventory-0