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