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Published: June 27, 2017
Eric Mason

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Test Description

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is currently one of the most widely psychological tests. It consists of 567 true or false questions which are intended to measure both psychopathology and personality in adults. The original MMPI was first developed in 1943 and was later updated in 1989. This updated version in known as the MMPI-2, which retains the methodology of the original MMPI. A newer version called the MMPI-2 Restructured Form (published in 2008) was shortened to 338 questions and does not retain all of the underlying theory of the MMPI-2. In addition there is a version designed for adolescents called the MMPI-A which was published in 1992. In the following paper, the MMPI-2 is the primary focus.

The MMPI-2 consists of 10 clinical subscales which assess 10 categories of psychopathology. They are as follows:  Hypochondriasis, Depression, Hysteria, Psychopathic Deviate, Masculinity/Femininity, Paranoia, Psychasthenia, Schizophrenia, Hypomania, and Social Introversion.

The Hypochondriasis scale contains 32 items and identifies somatic complaints. It tends to focus on measuring pain that persists even when medical tests do not show an actual physical causes. This scale is measures poor physical health and gastrointestinal difficulties.

The Depression scale is designed to identify clinical depression symptoms. It contains 57 items which measure, for example, dissatisfaction with one’s life, lack of hope for the future, and lack of motivation. The Hysteria scale attempts to identify the following traits: somatic complaints/headaches, neuroticism, shyness, and cynicism.

The Psychopathic Deviate scale contains 50 items and identifies characteristic that may lead one to be maladjusted in society. Furthermore, it identifies those who disregard authority figures, have family disturbances, and are less able to experience pleasant experiences. The Masculinity/Femininity scale identifies how rigidly one adheres to stereotypical roles of masculinity and femininity.

The Paranoia scale contains 40 items and identifies traits associated with who may act moderately paranoid, such as being suspicious or self-righteous. In addition, it identifies those who may be psychotic, as it includes direct questions about paranoid and delusional thinking. The Psychasthenia scale tends to identify obsessive-compulsive thinking and behaviors, as well as a person’s inability to resist acting on these thoughts and behaviors. Psychasthenia scale is old term which is roughly the equivalent of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, nowadays.

The Schizophrenia scale attempts to identify those who may be experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, such as bizarre thoughts and delusions. It also attempts to identify problems with social functioning which is often typical of those experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia. There are 78 items on this subscale.

The Hypomania scale is designed to reveal symptoms that are consistent with mania, which may indicate Bipolar Disorder, for example. This includes flight of ideas, moodiness, grandiosity, elevated mood, and psychomotor excitement. There are 46 items on this scale.

The Social Introversion scale measures the social introversion and extroversion of a person. A person who is a social introvert is uncomfortable in social interactions and typically withdraws from such interactions whenever possible. They may have limited social skills, or simply prefer to be alone or with a small group of friends. This scale has 69 items.

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