A Summary of the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory



Victoria Boccanfuso, Jamie Hseih, Shawna Metcalfe






A.     Purpose of the MMPI-2


The purpose of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is to assess characteristics that reflect an individual’s personal and social maladjustment

(MMPI-2 1989 Catalog). The MMPI-2 was constructed to give a more modern assessment than the 30-year-old original version, the MMPI. The original version used language that was outdated and was used to assess characteristics that it did not have questions for. The MMPI-2 was developed as an aid in determining mental health status and the need for hospitalization. The MMPI-2 is also used as a personality appraisal for fir fighters, police officers and pilots. Interestingly, the MMPI-2 is also used to assess personality in other cultures and the results are compared to our own. One thing not assessed by the MMPI-2 is intelligence.














B.     Construction of the MMPI-2

The MMPI was written by Starke Hathaway and J.C. McKinley. The revised version of their test, the MMPI-2, was constructed by J.N. Butcher, W.G. Dahlstrom, J.R. Graham, A. Tellegan, and B. Kaemmer all from the University of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The revised version was published in 1989 and, like the original is the most widely used personality inventory used today. It is written at an eighth grade level and takes 60-90 minutes to complete. The test consists of 567 items. These items include edited versions of the first 70 on the original version, 4 rewritten items from the original, and minus 90 items from the original. The test is rated on 4 scales of validity and 10 clinical scales. Scoring is done by computer or by a scoring key and uniform T- scores, as opposed to conventional T- scores used on the original, in order to ensure that all scores have about the same distribution












The MMPI-2 was designed to be used with people ages 18 and over to asses a


number of the major patterns of personality and emotional disorders.



The MMPI-2 has several scales 4 validity scales and 10 clinical

scales. The 4 validity scales are:


                        L(lie) Scale – includes 15 items that are common human faults that most


people are willing to admit thus if the person does not admit to these


faults they are likely to be exaggerating their virtues and laying claim to


unrealistically high moral standards.


                        F(infrequency) Scale – includes 60 items that ask questions to determine


any inconsistency where the client has contradicted themselves in there




                        K(correction) Scale – includes 30 items which are designed to reveal the


clients attempts to present themselves in the best possible way.


                        ?(cannot say) Scale – the number of items that the client has left


unanswered reported as a raw score


The 10 clinical scales are:


            Scale 1 (Hypochondriasis) – includes 32 items that reflect a person’s


preoccupation with physical problems which is a psychologically based


disorder manifested through physical symptoms.


            Scale 2 (Depression) – includes 57 items that are designed to assess


depressed mood or clinical depression.


            Scale 3 (Hysteria) – includes 60 items that deal with the clients specific


physical complaints and denial of concern about the physical problems and

might detect an inability to deal effectively with life stresses.


            Scale 4 (Psychopathic Deviate) – includes 50 items that asses antisocial


acts and feelings as well as hostility and/or anger and a tendency to blame


others for their problems.


            Scale 5 (Masculine-Feminine Interests) – includes 56 items that measure


stereotypic masculine and feminine interests and addresses issues related to


gender roles.


            Scale 6 (Paranoia) – includes 40 items that indicate feelings of


suspiciousness and wariness of other peoples intentions or motives.


            Scale 7 (Psychasthenia) – includes 48 items concerned with feelings of


anxiety, concern, obsessive ruminations and general maladjustment.


            Scale 8 (Schizophrenia) – includes 78 items that reflect feelings of


alienation, differentness, confusion, bizarre sensations, isolation and


blatantly psychotic behavior.


            Scale 9 (Mania) – includes items that show excessive energy, psychomotor


acceleration, imperturbability, and scattered behavior.


            Scale 10 (Social Introversion-Extraversion) – includes 69 items measuring


social shyness, the preference for solitary pursuits, and lack of social












E.      Reliability and validity of the test:

The validity and reliability is based on the original inventory.  The

MMPI-2 was found effective for its task of diagnosing mental and emotional problems.  Validity measures reported relate the validity, clinical, supplementary, and content scales to the ratings on an adjustment scale.  The MMPI-2 seems to be doing about as good of a job as the original MMPI.  Information regarding the accuracy of the MMPI-2 may take a while because researchers are concentrating on the clinical scales.



F.      How the test might be used and how the results should be interpreted:

The MMPI-2 may be useful in psychiatric hospitals, mental health clinics, college counseling centers, and similar agencies as well as widely employed in personality research.  Psychologists are the primary users of the MMPI, but psychiatrists, psychiatric social workers, and psychiatric nurses are acquainted with it and its utility.



G.     Pros of the test:

¨      Any test needs revision after 50 years. 

¨      Items become dated and norm groups need to be revised to more closely fit the current testing population.  The test is more relevant for today.

¨      Addition of new sclaes that explore areas not assessed previously by the MMPI

     Cons of the test:

¨      The new norm group is still biased by being heavily weighted with professional people who have more education than the general U.S. population.

¨      A respondent’s Basic Scale profile may be different from his or her profile on the original MMPI.



·       Updated, modern assessment of personality


·       Asses personal and social maladjustment characteristics of an individual


·       Developed for adults age 18 and older

·       Determine mental health status and need for hospitalization

·       Evaluate treatment effects in mental health and psychiatric settings

·       Research the role of genetics in personality

·       Assess personality across cultures and compare results to our own

·       Personality appraisal for fire fighters, police officers, and  pilots




·      Authors StarkeHataway and J.C. McKinley

·       Revisers J.N. Butcher, W.G. Dahlstrom, J.R. Graham, A. Tellegan, and B. Kaemmer all from the University of Minneapolis, Minnesota

·       All from the University of Minneapolis, Minnesota

·       Revised version published in 1989

·       Consists of 567 items

·       4 validity scales

·       10 clinical scales

·       Written at an 8th grade level

·       To be administered to adults age 18 and older

·       60-90 minutes to complete

·      Scored by computer or by a scoring key