Personal Finance

What is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI Test)?

Minnesota versatile personality test (MMPI) is a test used to help diagnose and diagnose mental illness. This test, which was first developed towards the end of the 1930s, has been updated and revised several times to improve accuracy and validity. MMPI-2 consists of 567 true-false questions and takes approximately 60-90 minutes to complete. Besides, MMPI-2-RF has 338 true-false questions and takes 35-50 minutes to complete.

MMPI History

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) was developed in 1937 by clinical psychologist Starke R. Hathaway and neuropsychiatrist J. Charnley McKinley from the University of Minnesota. In addition to being the most used clinical test tool today, this test is one of the most researched psychological tests. MMPI is not a perfect test, but it is still considered very valuable in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

Using the MMPI Test

The MMPI is most often used by mental health professionals to assess and diagnose mental illness, but has also been used in other areas than clinical psychology. MMPI-2 is often used in legal cases, including criminal defense and detention disputes. In addition, the test is used as a screening tool in certain occupational groups, especially those with high risk, but its use in this manner is criticized. It is also used to control the effectiveness of substance addiction treatment programs.

Revisions in the MMPI Test

In the years that followed, after the initial publication of the test, researchers and clinicians questioned the accuracy of this test and pointed out that the original sample group was insufficient. Some claim that the results indicate a possible test bias, others think the test itself contains sexist and racist questions. In response to these problems, the MMPI underwent a revision in the late 1980s. Many questions have been removed or reorganized while adding a new set of questions. In addition, new validity scales were included in the revised test.

The revised edition of the test was released as MMPI-2 in 1989. The test was revised again in 2001, updated between 2003 and 2009 and is still used as the most frequently used clinical evaluation test. The most recent edition of the test published in 2008 is known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Reconstructed Form (MMPI-2-RF), which is an alternative to MMPI-2. However, MMPI-2 is used more often than MMPI-2-RF. There is also an MMPI published in 1992, called MMPI-A for adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18. It takes about an hour to complete with 478 questions. In 2016, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Adolescent-Reconstructed Form (MMPI-A-RF) was published and, like the MMPI-2-RF, the questions to answer take 25 to 45 minutes and are 241.

Administration of the MMPI Test

MMPI-2 contains 567 test items and takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete. The MMPI-2-RF contains 338 questions and takes approximately 35 to 50 minutes to complete. Additionally, the MMPI is copyrighted by the University of Minnesota, which means clinicians must pay to administer and use the test. The MMPI is administered, scored and interpreted by a professional clinical psychologist or psychiatrist who is specially trained in this area. The MMPI test should be used in conjunction with other assessment tools. It should never be diagnosed based solely on MMPI results. MMPI can be managed individually or in groups and computerized versions are also available. Both MMPI-2 and MMPI-2-RF are designed for people 18 years and older. The test can be scored manually or by a computer, but the results should always be done by a qualified mental health professional specialized in this subject.

The 10 Clinical Scales of the MMPI Test

MMPI-2 and MMPI-A have 10 clinical scales used to assess psychological conditions, but MMPI-2-RF and MMPI-A-RF use different scales. Despite the names given to each scale, these are not a pure measure as there are symptoms that overlap in many conditions. For this reason, most psychologists refer to each scale with numbers. Clinical scales on MMPI-2 and MMPI-A are as follows:

Scale 1-Hypochondriasis

This scale is designed to assess a neurotic anxiety related to bodily functioning. Items in this scale are related to physical symptoms and well-being. It was originally developed to identify people who show symptoms of hypochondria or tend to believe someone has an undiagnosed medical condition.

Scale 2-Depression

This scale was originally designed to describe depression, which is characterized by poor morale, future hopelessness, and general dissatisfaction with one’s own life situation. While very high scores may indicate depression, moderate scores tend to reveal a general dissatisfaction with one’s life.

Scale 3-Hysteria

The third scale was originally designed to identify those who exhibit hysteria or physical complaints in stressful situations. Well-educated and high social class tend to score higher on this scale. Women also tend to score higher than men on this scale.

Scale 4-Psychopathic Deviation

Originally developed to describe psychopaths, this scale measures social deviation, denial of authority, and immorality (ignoring morality). This scale can be considered as a measure of disobedience and antisocial behavior. High scorers tend to be more rebellious, while low scorers are more accepting of authority. Despite the name of this scale, people with high scores are often diagnosed with a personality disorder rather than a psychotic disorder.

Scale 5-Masculinity-Femininity

This scale was designed by the original authors to describe what they called homosexual tendencies and is largely ineffective for this. It is used today to assess how much or how little a person defines how rigidly an individual identifies with stereotypical male and female gender roles.


This scale was originally developed to describe individuals with paranoid symptoms such as skepticism, feelings of cruelty, grandiose self-concepts, hypersensitivity, and rigid attitudes. Those who score high on this scale tend to have paranoid or psychotic symptoms.

Scale 7-Psychoastinia

This diagnostic label is no longer used today, and the symptoms described in this scale mostly reflect anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This scale is initially used to measure excessive doubts, compulsions, obsessions, and unreasonable fears.

Scale 8-Schizophrenia

This scale was originally developed to describe patients with schizophrenia. Strange thought processes and bizarre perceptions reflect a wide range of areas, including social alienation, poor family relationships, difficulties in concentration and impulse control, lack of deep interest, annoying questions about self-worth and self-identity, and sexual difficulties. The scale may also show potential substance abuse, emotional or social alienation, eccentricities, and limited attention to other people.

Scale 9-Hypomania

This scale was developed to determine the characteristics of hypomania such as high mood, hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, accelerated speech and motor activity, irritability, flight of ideas, and short-term depression.

Scale 10-Social Introversion

This scale was developed after the other nine scales. It is designed to assess a person’s shyness and tendency to withdraw from social relationships and responsibilities.