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The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2)

A brief history:

The original Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) was published in 1940 and the second revised version the MMPI-2 was published in 1989. It is the most widely used psychometric test for measuring adult psychopathology in the world. The MMPI-2 is used in mental health, medical and employment settings.

Purpose: Designed as an objective personality test for the assessment of psychopathology.

Population: Adults.

Score: Reports scores for the various scales.

Time: (40-90) minutes.

Authors: Starke Hathaway and J. Charnley McKinley.

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press.

Description: The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) is a broad-based test designed to assess a number of major patterns of personality, emotional, and behavioral disorders. It consists of 567 statements that a subject marks true or false. The test provides internal checks that determine if the general requirements have not been satisfied.


Scoring: The inventory is scored in subunits, eight of which are conventionally termed clinical scales and provide the clinical profile. The clinical scales are

  • Scale 1 (Hypochondriasis);
  • Scale 2 (Depression);
  • Scale 3 (Hysteria);
  • Scale 4 (Psychopathic Deviate);
  • Scale 6 (Paranoia);
  • Scale 7 (Psychasthenia);
  • Scale 8 (Schizophrenia); and
  • Scale 9 (Hypomania).

Two other scales were added from within the original item pool.

  • Scale 5 (Masculinity-femininity) was developed along with the eight clinical scales. Shortly after,
  • Scale 0 (Social Introversion) was added.

Three additional measures were designed to estimate the validity of the clinical profile.

  • The L (Lie) Scale has statements dealing with a common, relatively insignificant weakness to which most people are willing to confess.
  • The F (Infrequency) Scale is made up of statements that were answered in the keyed direction by less than 10% of the inventory’s original standardization group.
  • The K Scale was designed to trap the respondent who attempts to conceal actual psychopathology.

Reliability: Reliability information on the new MMPI-2 basic scales was computed from test-retest data on 82 males and 111 females retested after a median of 7 days. Correlation coefficients ranged from .67 to .92 for males (median r = .82), and from .58 to .91 for the females (median r = .79).

Validity: Additional validity indicators have been developed for MMPI-2.

  • The FB (Back F) scales identify individuals who are likely to be completing the inventory in an invalid manner. Also, the
  • VRIN (Variable Response Inconsistency) and
  • TRIN (True Response Inconsistency) scales provide an index of a subject’s tendency to respond in ways that are either inconsistent or contradictory.

Norms: The restandardization sample for the MMPI-2, comprised of subjects between the ages of 18 and 90 (1,138 males and 1,462 females) was drawn from communities in California, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, in addition to proportionate samples of individuals from a federal Indian reservation and various military bases.

Suggested Uses: Uses include screening, assessment, selection, and prediction applications in both research and clinical settings. 


  • Hathaway, S. R., & McKinley, J. C. (1940). A multiphasic personality schedule (Minnesota): 1. Construction of the schedule. JournalofPsychology, 10, 249–254
  • Graham, J. R., Watts, D., & Timbrook, R. (1991). Detecting fake-good and fake-bad MMPI-2 profiles. JournalofPersonality Assessment, 57, 264–277.
  • Butcher, J. N., Williams, C. L., Graham, J. R., Tellegen, A., Ben-Porath, Y. S., Archer, R. P., et al. (1992). Manual for administration, scoring, and interpretation of the Minnesota MultiphasicPersonalityInventoryforAdolescents: MMPI-A.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Butcher, J. N. (1996). InternationaladaptationsoftheMMPI-2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Tellegen, A., Ben-Porath, Y. S., McNulty, J., Arbisi, P., Graham, J. R., & Kaemmer, B. (2003). MMPI-2:Restructuredclinical(RC) scales. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Butcher, J. N. (2005). The MMPI-2: A beginner’s guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Nordin H, Eisemann M, Richter J. MMPI-2 subgroups in a sample of chronic pain patients. Scand J Psychol 2005;46: 209–216.
  • Butcher, J. N., Dahlstrom, W. G., Graham, J. R., Tellegen, A. M., & Kaemmer, B. (1989). Minnesota Multiphasic PersonalityInventory-2(MMPI-2): Manual for administration and scoring. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Tellegen, A., Ben-Porath, Y. S., McNulty, J., Arbisi, P., Graham, J. R., & Kaemmer, B. (2003). MMPI-2:Restructuredclinical(RC) scales. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Butcher, J. N., Hamilton, C. K., Rouse, S. V., & Cumella, E. J. (2006). The deconstruction of the Hy scale of MMPI-2: Failure of RC3 in measuring somatic symptom expression. Journal of PersonalityAssessment, 87, 186–192.

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