Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory2

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2; Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 1989) is unarguably the most widely used self-report measure of adult psychopathology and personality. In the original MMPI, Hathaway and McKinley (1943) revolutionized the field of personality assessment by creating the inventory through the novel empirical method at that time called criterion-keying. In criterion-keying, an item was assigned to a scale if it effectively discriminated a criterion group (e.g., people with clinical depression) from the normative sample (e.g., healthy relatives of patients at the University of Minnesota hospitals). To create the MMPI-2, the original MMPI was significantly revised and restandardized on 2,600 individuals who were generally representative of the U.S. Census. Although the sample included persons up to 85 years of age, older adults were somewhat underrepresented (about 5% of the sample; Graham, 2006).

The MMPI-2 contains 10 clinical scales, 15 content scales, many supplemental scales, and several validity scales. The standard clinical scales include Hs (Hypochondriasis), D (Depression), Hy (Hysteria), Pd (Psychopathic Deviate), Mf (Masculinity-Femininity), Pa (Paranoia), Pt (Psychasthenia), Sc (Schizophrenia), Ma (Hypomania), and Si (Social Introversion) scales. The primary validity scales include L (Lie, intended to detect those claiming excessive virtues), K (De-fensiveness, designed as an indicator of the tendency to deny psychopathology), and F (Infrequency, intended to detect exaggerated symptom endorsement). Other validity scales for the MMPI-2 include Back F (Fb), Faking Psychopathology F(p), Variable Response Inconsistency (VRIN), True Response Inconsistency (TRIN), and Superlative Self-Assessment (S) scales. On the clinical scales, older adults tend to obtain higher scores on scales Hs (Hypochondriasis), D (Depression), Hy (Hysteria), and Si (Social Introversion) and lower scores on scales Pd (Psychopathic Deviate), and Ma (Hypomania). According to Graham (2006), these elevations probably do not indicate greater psychopathology among older persons but rather reflect biological maturation and age-graded changes in health problems and energy levels.

Administration is either by paper and pencil or by computer. The MMPI-2 can be hand scored but, due to the complexity and time required, computer scoring is most common. Audiocassette versions are available, which can accommodate those with vision problems or physical disabilities. Raw scores on each scale are converted into T-scores, with 65 and above indicating the clinical range. The MMPI-2 has been translated into 22 languages and is widely used in cross-cultural research. MMPI-related publications since the 1940s are approaching 14,000 and, as such, an enormous database provides psychometric support for the measure (see recent review by Butcher, Atlis, & Hahn, 2004).

Because the MMPI-2 is a measure of symptom profiles, Axis I disorders, and personality traits, it is not intended as a formal measure of DSM-based personality disorders. As can be seen from the standard scales, only 1 of the 10 scales (Psychopathic Deviate) is an overt measure of personality pathology (Antisocial Personality Disorder). Although researchers have derived personality disorder scales (Morey, Waugh, & Blash-field, 1985) from the original MMPI items, use of these derived scales in clinical practice is uncommon; they have not been updated since their initial creation nor validated with older adults specifically. Thus, although the MMPI-2 can be helpful in understanding the psychopathology of the younger or older patient, its application for personality disorder assessment is more limited.

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