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MMPI Test: Use, Clinical Scales and Validity Scales

What is MMPI Test?

Minnesota, multiphasic personality inventory (MMPI) is a psychological examination that looks at the personality traits as well as an individual’s psychopathology to determine if a person has a mental disorder.

What is MMPI Test?

The MMPI test is of 3 types:

  • MMPI-2: Though being an older version, it is a most commonly used test because of its large research base and familiarity of the psychologists with it. It contains 567 questions and takes 60 to 90 minutes to complete.
  • MMPI-2-RF: It is a shorter test and was first published in 2008. This shortened version has 338 questions and takes between 35 to 50 minutes for most people.
  • MMPI-A: This type is used exclusively with teenagers. This test helps the psychiatrist to know more about the child and to start a treatment plan. MMPI-A has 241 questions and can be finished in 25 to 45 minutes.

Although the shorter tests take less time, the most preferred is still the MMPI-2 test that has been researched over the years.

Use of MMPI Test

MMPI test is used in the diagnosis of mental health disorders.

However, the diagnosis of a mental health condition does not rely on one single test. It needs to be gathered from different sources including their interaction with the individual being tested.

MMPI evaluations are sometimes used in child custody disputes, educational settings, employment setting, and substance abuse programs.

Clinical Scales of MMPI Test

MMPI test evaluates a person on ten different mental health scales.

Different psychological pattern or condition is related to different scale but they tend to overlap. A high score might indicate a mental health condition.

Scale 1: Hypochondriasis

  • This scale evaluates whether a person has unhealthy concerns for own health. It has 32 items.
  • A person’s worries about health causing problems in relationships can make them have a high score on this scale.
  • A high score on scale 1 might make a person prone to develop symptoms that do not have any underlying cause, especially during high-stress periods.

Scale 2: Depression

  • This scale measures the satisfaction level in life. It has 57 items.
  • A person getting a high score on scale 2 might be dealing with depression and having frequent suicidal thoughts.
  • A slight high score would indicate unhappiness from own circumstances.

Scale 3: Hysteria

  • This scale evaluates a person’s response to stress. It also includes the physical and emotional response to being under pressure.
  • Studies show that people with chronic pain score high on the first 3 scales because prolonged, heightened health concerns.(1)

Scale 4: Psychopathic Deviate

  • This scale reveals whether a person is experiencing psychopathology. It has 50 items to measure antisocial behavior and attitudes and also compliance and reliance on authority.
  • A score high on this scale would diagnose a personality disorder.

Scale 5: Masculinity/Femininity

  • This scale has 56- questions and the purpose is to elicit a person’s sexuality.
  • If the mental health professional views same-sex attraction as a disorder, a person is evaluated on this scale.

Scale 6: Paranoia

This scale evaluates symptoms associated with psychosis. It has 40 questions. It determines:

  • Extreme suspicion of people
  • Grandiose thinking
  • Feeling of being persecuted by society
  • Rigid black and white thinking

A high score on this scale indicates whether a person is dealing with a paranoid personality disorder or psychosis disorder.

Scale 7: Psychasthenia

  • This scale measures anxiety, depression, compulsive behavior, or symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It has 48 items.
  • This scale is used to evaluate unhealthy compulsions and disruptive feelings.

Scale 8: Schizophrenia

  • This scale has 78 items and is used to determine whether a person is suffering from or is likely to have schizophrenia disorder.
  • It also considers whether a person is experiencing hallucinations, delusions, or bouts of disorganized thinking.

Scale 9: Hypomania

This scale evaluates the symptoms associated with hypomania that include:

  • Excessive undirected energy
  • Rapid speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Racing thoughts
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Impulsivity

This scale has 46 items and a high score may indicate bipolar disorder.

Scale 10: Social introversion

This scale measure how much a person can withdraw from social interactions. It is a 69 item scale and measures extroversion and introversion.

The scale considers:

  • Competitiveness
  • Dependability
  • Timidity
  • Compliance

Validity Scales

A validity scale determines how genuine the answers of the test taker are. Sometime people due to any concern over-report, under-report, or are dishonest. This scale helps in revealing the inaccurate answers.

L/Lie Scale: People scoring high on a lie scale tend to portray themselves in a positive light. They refuse to acknowledge traits or responses that they fear might make them look bad.

F Scale: A person scoring high on this scale seems to be in worse condition than they actually seem.

This test reveals inconsistencies in answer patterns and a high score indicates severe distress or psychopathology.

K Scale: This scale reveals a person’s defensiveness around certain questions and traits. It has 30 items that focus on self-control and relationships.

Just like the L scale, k scale highlights a person’s need to be seen positively.

MMPI test is a well-researched test designed to diagnose mental health conditions and disorders. It is a reliable and widely used test.

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 1, 2021

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