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Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)


Explanations > Preferences > Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

MMPI History | MMPI ScalesSo what?


The MMPI system is not really a preference system of real interest here. A brief introduction is included just for completeness, so you can at least understand what it is when you bump into it.

MMPI History

The MMPI was developed in the 1930s at Minnesota University as a serious and comprehensive personality test that can be used to detect psychiatric problems. It was revised in 1989 as MMPI-2 and a version for adolescents developed (MMPI-A). There is also an abbreviated version (MMPI-3).

It has ten clinical scales to indicate different psychiatric conditions, although these are not 'pure' and hence the scales are often referred to by their number, to avoid confusion and argument.

Due to its clinical use, there is a lot of concern that people taking it may fake results and hence there are three 'validity' scales to guard against this.

MMPI Scales

Scale 1 - hypochondriasis

Neurotic concern over bodily functioning.

Scale 2 -  depression

Poor morale, lack of hope in the future, and a general dissatisfaction with one's own life situation. High scores are clinical depression whilst lower scores are more general unhappiness with life.

Scale 3 - hysteria

Hysterical reaction to stressful situations. Often have 'normal' facade and then go to pieces when faced with a 'trigger' level of stress.

People who tend to score higher include brighter, better educated and from higher social classes. Women score higher too.

Scale 4 - psychopathic deviate

Measures social deviation, lack of acceptance of authority, amorality. Adolescents tend to score higher.

Scale 5 - masculinity-femininity

Tests for homosexual tendencies. Men tend to get higher scores. It is also related to intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status.

Scale 6 - paranoia

Paranoid symptoms such as ideas of reference, feelings of persecution, grandiose self-concepts, suspiciousness, excessive sensitivity, and rigid opinions and attitudes.

Scale 7 - psychasthenia

Originally characterized by excessive doubts, compulsions, obsessions, and unreasonable fears, it now indicates conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It also shows abnormal fears, self-criticism, difficulties in concentration, and guilt feelings.

Scale 8 - schizophrenia

Assesses a wide variety of content areas, including bizarre thought processes and peculiar perceptions, social alienation, poor familial relationships, difficulties in concentration and impulse control, lack of deep interests, disturbing questions of self-worth and self-identity, and sexual difficulties.

Scale 9 - hypomania

Tests for elevated mood, accelerated speech and motor activity, irritability, flight of ideas, and brief periods of depression.

Scale 0 - social introversion

Tests for a person's tendency to withdraw from social contacts and responsibilities.

So what?

So when they take you away in a white, padded van and ask you questions, you'll be able to bluff your way out again...

See also

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