The human personality is one of the most difficult psychological constructs to describe . Some theories define it as those stable and distinctive characteristics of a person that are manifested through behaviour.

In spite of the complexity of its definition, there are some evaluation tests that allow a psychological profile of the personality to be carried out that is very much adjusted to the subject’s reality. One of the most widely used is the MMPI-2 , whose operation we will review throughout this article.

What is MMPI-2?

The Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory , in this specific case the MMPI-2 is one of the most popular instruments within psychology to assess personality, global and specific psychopathological characteristics of the person, or psychosomatic disorders.

This last version developed in 1989 from the original MMPI is very popular because it allows the mental health professional to make valid and reliable judgments about the patient’s personality. In the same way, enables the creation of a very complete psychological profile .

This inventory of personality constructs is composed of 567 items of dichotomous choice in which the person must choose between true or false depending on whether he or she identifies with the statement or not.

The MMPI-2 gives us the opportunity to evaluate basic personality characteristics using a series of scales , categorized as basic or additional. The basic scale consists of 370 items that are divided into validity and clinical scales. While the additional scales allow to extend the information of the basic scales by discriminating the content and nature of the symptoms.

Finally, this test is considered a basic evaluation instrument, so it can be applied in all those areas where an evaluation of personality traits is needed. Among these administration contexts are: research centers and psychological clinics, educational centers or military or defense contexts.

Characteristics of this psychological test

The MMPI-2 has a number of distinctive characteristics that make it the most widely used test for psychological personality profiling . These characteristics are found at the level of administration, objectives and reliability.

1. Objective

As indicated at the beginning of the article, the objective of the MMPI-2 is to develop a psychological profile of the personality traits of the person being evaluated. As well as identifying possible psychopathological characteristics, or anomalous personality traits .

2. Material

This test can be done either virtually or classically (pencil and paper). You will need the MMPI-2 question protocol and the answer sheet. In addition, the correction key is required for the evaluation.

3. Administration

Standard test administration instructions are included in the MMPI-2 test package. The estimated time for the test varies between 90 and 120 minutes , and should always be performed in the presence of a psychologist or mental health professional. If possible, accompanied by an observer who is also a professional.

Due to the complexity of the test it is necessary that the evaluator has read the material before using it. The evaluator will then provide the necessary material to the person being evaluated and explain what the test is about. Throughout the test, the evaluator can answer any questions that may arise, since the MMPI-2 is more valid if the evaluator answers all the items.

4. Score

After finishing the test, the evaluator will move on to the correction stage, in which the evaluator will award one point for each affirmative or true answer of the patient and 0 points in the boxes marked as false . At the end, all the points are added up to obtain the raw score of the scale from which the T score will be obtained, which will allow us to interpret the results of the test.

Your scales

As mentioned above, the MMPI-2 consists of 567 items arranged in different evaluation scales . These scales are divided into the basic scales, consisting of the validity scales and the clinical scales, and the additional scales.

1. Clinical scales

The aim of these scales is to investigate a possible presence of psychopathological symptoms. Within this scale the following personality factors are found:

  • Hypochondria.
  • Depression.
  • Hysteria.
  • Psychopathic deviation.
  • Paranoia .
  • Psycho.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Hypomania .
  • Social introversion.
  • Masculinity-Femininity (divided into women and men)

2. Scales of validity

The validity scale allows us to detect whether there is intentionality of lying or inconsistency in the answers of the evaluated. This scale includes:

  • L scale or lie .
  • F-scale or inconsistency or validity.
  • K-scale or correction or defense.

3. Additional scale

As a complement to the basic scales, and with the intention of expanding the information provided by them, the evaluator can use the additional scales that measure constructs as

  • Anxiety.
  • Fears.
  • Obsessiveness .
  • Depression.
  • Health concerns.
  • Fancy thinking.
  • Hostility.
  • Cynicism.
  • Antisocial behaviour .
  • Type A behavior.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Social malaise.
  • Workplace problems.
  • Work interference.
  • Negative treatment indicators that show whether the patient needs to be hospitalized or not

How are the scores interpreted?

Depending on the T-score obtained by the patient, the scales can be interpreted on the basis of the following classification:

  • Tsi score the person intends to give a good image of him/herself .
  • T = 40-50: Corresponds to a very low score so it has no diagnostic significance. An analysis of the L scale should also be performed.
  • T=41-55: Belongs to the expected score in the population so it also has no diagnostic significance.
  • T=56-65: Moderate diagnostic significance Some of the scales should be reviewed to investigate which personality traits stand out .
  • T=66-75: High diagnostic significance. From this score, pathological personality traits may appear.
  • T>75: Extremely high diagnostic significance Only occurs in 10% of cases, so the possibility that the person is exaggerating or that it means a demand for urgent help should be considered.