How is the mmpi scored

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - StatPearls

Augustus E. Floyd; Vikas Gupta.

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Last Update: April 28, 2022.


The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is the most common psychometric test devised to assess personality traits and psychopathology. This data can be used to draw conclusions about the test taker’s psychopathy or to interpret psychological characteristics compared to the norm.[1] The most common treatment application of the test by providers is establishing or reevaluating care for an ambiguous clinical picture.[2] For psychiatric management, this aids in creating generalizable data relevant to a plethora of possible conditions.[1][2]

The MMPI was developed in the 1930s and published through the University of Minnesota in 1942 by Stuart Hathaway and Charley McKinley using visitors of patients at the University of Minnesota hospital as a base sample in both theorizing constructs of psychiatric illness and fielding the instrument.  Testing is administered through 567 true or false items using a booklet with an accompanying answer sheet. The responses are then hand-scored and plotted on an X-Y graph; a separate version is used for male and female respondents.[3] 

The X-axis is comprised of 14 scales. The first four ‘content scales’ judge the validity of the test attempt and include: 

  • ? to represent the number of questions completed incorrectly, either with no attempt or both ‘true’ and ‘false’ selected

  • L for ‘Lie’ to represent an attempt by the respondent to misrepresent themselves in a more positive light 

  • F or ‘frequency’ to gauge random response as well as the respondent’s exaggeration or downplaying of symptoms

  • K to gauge ‘defensiveness,’ or evasion of stressful content 

The 10 remaining scales known as ‘clinical scales’ are designed to measure for the presence of psychiatric syndromes, including:

  • 1 or ‘Hs’ for hypochondriasis

  • 2 or ‘D’ for depression

  • 3 or ‘Hy’ for hysteria

  • 4 or ‘Pd’ for psychopathic deviate

  • 5 or ‘Mf’ for the continuum of masculinity-femininity

  • 6 or ‘Pa’ for paranoia

  • 7 or ‘Pt’ for psychasthenia or obsessive-compulsive tendency

  • 8 or ‘Sc’ for schizophrenia

  • 9 or ‘Ma’ for mania

  • 0 or ‘Si’ for social introversion.

The Y-axis statistically standardizes the grading received on each scale in a range of T-scores from 0 to 120. A mean score is 50, and 82% of respondents are considered the normal population falling between 30 and 70. A T-score greater than 70 indicates psychopathy in that category.

Issues of Concern

The existence of the MMPI has been concurrent with vast reforms in societal convention and increased understanding of behavioral health.[3] Likewise, the instrument has been adapted to reflect such changes. Overarching criticisms to the original test center on its disparity in addressing psychopathy in social and ethnic minorities.[1] This has been attributed to the original sample being a small group, mainly consisting of young rural Caucasian subjects from the Midwestern United States.[4] Studies have established biases in which misunderstanding or failure to identify with the content of questions culturally has led to underreporting or overreporting mental illness. [5][1] 

These shortcomings led to the release of the MMPI-2 by James N. Butcher, W. Grant Dahlstrom, John R. Graham, Auke Tellegen, and Beverly Kaemme in 1989.[6] This assessment retains the original total of 567 items with the same corresponding 14 scales with the original number of questions from the test.[6] Test items were revised based upon a larger and more diverse sample size of 2600 attuned to a 6th-grade reading level.[6] Gendered differences were replaced with a nongendered standardized scoring.[6] Despite further advancements, the MMPI-2 is still the most commonly administered version and has been translated into over 40 languages.[1]

In 2003, 9 restructured clinical or ‘RC’ scales were introduced as a prospective replacement for the original clinical scales.[1] These include:

  • RCd, or ‘demoralization’ – misery or depression

  • RC1 or ‘somatic complaints, – the fixation on bodily symptoms of illness or somatization

  • RC2 or ‘low positive emotions’ – weakened positivity, lack of enjoyment

  • RC3 or ‘cynicism’ – low regard for the merit of others and their actions

  • RC4 or ‘antisocial behavior’ – selfish and sociopathic conduct

  • RC6 or ‘ideas of persecution’ – belief in the malintent of others toward oneself

  • RC7 or ‘dysfunctional negative emotions’ – experiences on a spectrum of anxiety and irritability 

  • RC8 or ‘aberrant experiences’ – uncommon beliefs or interpretation of experiences

  • RC9 or ‘hypomanic activation’ – energetic drive and desire for exertion

The RC scales were devised to provide a streamlined interpretation and less overlap with an increased focus on the growth in understanding within psychiatry over the past 70 years.  Combinations of high-scoring categories represent distinct psychiatric constructs rather than the nebulous findings of the original clinical scales tying the patient to a specific diagnosis. Arguments also exist that this information is limited in that it categorizes the responder rather than providing data on an individual patient within a personalized spectrum of behavior.[1]

The RC scales were incorporated into the most current form of the MMPI, known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Revised Form, or the MMPI-2-RF, which was released in 2008 by Yossef Ben-Porath and Auke Telleger of the University of Minnesota. The MMPI-2-RF is composed of 338 items measured by 51 scales broken into 9 validity scales, 3 higher-order scales, the 9 RC scales, 23 specific problem scales, 2 interest scales, and 5 revised personality psychopathy scales.[1]

The 9 validity scales assess incongruent answering or deceptive test-taking and include:

  • VRIN-r or ‘variable response inconsistency’ – inconsistent reporting of items

  • TRIN-r or ‘true response inconsistency’ careless reporting of items

  • F-r or ‘infrequent responses,’ – overreporting of infrequent responses compared to the norm

  • Fp-r or ‘infrequent psychopathology responses’ – overreporting of infrequent responses compared to those with psychopathy

  • Fs or ‘infrequent somatic responses’ – overreporting of infrequent responses compared to medical patients

  • FBS-r or ‘symptom validity’ – overreporting of nonvalid symptoms compared to both physical and mental standard symptomology

  • RBS or ‘response bias’ – overreporting associated with a statistically invalidated presentation of the disease

  • L-r or ‘uncommon virtues’ – underreporting through infrequently declared values or actions

  • K-r or ‘adjustment validity’ – underreporting by tailoring answers to give the impression of healthy psychological adjustment 

The 3 higher-order scales broadly categorize psychopathic presentation and include:

  • EID or ‘emotional/internalizing dysfunction’ – problems concerning mood and affect

  • THD or ‘thought dysfunction’ – problems concerning disorganization of thought

  • BXD or ‘behavioral/external dysfunction’ – problems concerning impulsive or inappropriate behavior 

The problem scales highlight responses consistent with the presence of specific psychopathic and psychosomatic presentations and include:

  • MLS or ‘malaise’

  • GIC or ‘gastrointestinal complaints’

  • HPC or ‘head pain complaints'

  • NUC or ‘neurological complaints’

  • COG or ‘cognitive complaints’

  • SUI or ‘suicidal/death ideation’

  • HLP or ‘helplessness/hopelessness’

  • SFD or ‘self-doubt’

  • NFC or ‘inefficacy’

  • STW or ‘stress/worry’

  • AXY or ‘anxiety’

  • ANP or ‘anger proneness’

  • BRF or ‘behavior-restricting fears’

  • MSF or ‘multiple specific fears’

  • JCP or ‘juvenile conduct problems’

  • SUB or ‘substance abuse’

  • AGG or ‘aggression’

  • ACT or ‘activation’

  • FML or ‘family problems’

  • IPP or ‘interpersonal passivity’

  • SAV or ‘social avoidance’

  • SHY or ‘shyness’

  • DSF or ‘disaffiliativeness’ 

The interest scales are designed to assess cognitive skills, aptitude, and learning preferences which include:

  • AES or aesthetic-literary interests – pursuits related to fine art

  • MEC or mechanical-physical interests – pursuits related to kinesthetic activities

The revised personality/psychopathology five scales are based on 107 distinct items and include:

  • AGG-r or ‘aggressiveness-revised’ – preference for excess and antagonism

  • PSYCH-r or ‘psychoticism-revised’ – preference for disconnection from reality

  • DISC-r or ‘disconstraint-revised’ – preference for impulsion and compulsion

  • NEGE-r or ‘negative emotionality/neuroticism-revised’ – preference for anxiety

  • INTR-r or ‘introversion/low positive emotional-revised’ – flat affect and timidity

It has been suggested that while the MMPI-2-RF has many additional metrics, the reduction in question number limits the amount of information about psychiatric diseases to about 60% of the original test. There has also been considerable debate over whether the new metrics are inaccurate in detecting psychopathy.[1] In separating genuine psychopathy from attempts to feign a diagnosis for personal incentive, some studies have noted the new validity scales to be overly sensitive to overreporting symptoms to achieve a specific result. It has conversely been found that the L-r and K-r scales are particularly reliable at detecting underreporting of mental illness.[7][8] Overall, literature has supported the MMPI-2-RF in identifying the accuracy of reporting psychiatric information in those who complete it.[1]

Clinical Significance

The MMPI maintains an enduring presence in the field of mental health, and its current adaption has been widely evaluated by the standard of modern behavioral health practices.[1] It continues to receive widespread application as a threshold of determining the presence of psychopathy, as a means of constructing a differential diagnosis for mental health problems, and as a versatile test to achieve transferrable psychological data. These data points indicate a category, which gives behavioral health professionals a starting point to explore plausible diagnoses and initiate appropriate treatment. Completion may also offer therapeutic benefits to patients in reflecting upon their issues and improving personal understanding of their psychology.[3]

In addition to its predominant clinical application, an extensive body of research exists to assess the MMPI in all its versions for the use in criminology, population studies, and prediction of aptitude in a particular role. Several studies on the MMPI-2-RF have compared those with a criminal history to those who have undergone rehabilitation and found that high scores on externalizing scales were predictive of violent behavior.[9] The MMPI-2-RF has also been used to prescreen applicants for law enforcement to obtain baseline mental health or flagging for aggressive tendencies.[1][10] There has also been usage evaluating parenting suitability in custody battles over children and in predicting the course of domestic disputes in couples. [11][12] Interpretations of the test have also been used to establish criminal intent in defendants.[1][9]

A major consensus of the MMPI in its current form is that increased accessibility for being tested improves retention without compromising outcomes. Prevailing criticisms of the original format were the extensive span of questioning and difficulty of paper administration for both completion and grading, with efforts to provide a more efficient medium well-documented since the 1980s.[13] When evaluating the use of tablet devices compared to conventional forms of electronic administration using a home computer or laptop for taking the MMPI-RF-2, the difference in reliability of results between the two mediums was insignificant.[14] There have also been motions to use the MMPI-2-RF to assess psychopathy utilizing an algorithm using a high score on a higher-order scale and then tailoring the remaining assessment to similar questions to the indicated higher order.[15] To aid in administration to pediatric patients, an adolescent form exists known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent-Restructured Form (MMPI-A-RF). [16] 

Clinical Pearls 

  • The MMPI provides broad information about aspects of personality and the existence of components of psychopathology.

  • The MMPI is completed by indicating true/false to a series of declarative statements that identify personal beliefs or symptomology.

  • Interpretation is based upon scoring reasonably truthfully and consistently within the outlined scales of the test.

  • Scales in older versions represented clinical syndromes, while more recently developed scales are based on identifying symptoms that can be applied to appropriate conditions or disorders.

  • The MMPI is effective at distinguishing psychopathy from malingering or purposeful test-taking as well as from medical conditions.

  • The MMPI has been revised to make the test more efficient, reproducible to test-takers in a broader societal demographic, and more grounded in current theory.

  • The MMPI can be taken by an individual patient to provide evidence of their symptoms but can also be fielded to a population fitting a known category to observe trends within their scoring.

  • The MMPI has been applied to a variety of non-clinical settings, including legal evidence in criminal and civil cases and screening for employment.

The completion of the MMPI holds value in determining care throughout a variety of treatment considerations. The test should be administered by a licensed psychotherapist, usually a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, with informed consent obtained by discussing the risks and benefits of completion. Analysis of the results by the psychotherapist interpreting scoring should be attached with a working diagnosis to assess for treatment response. The presence of conditions associated with high-scoring categories will ultimately guide the necessity for pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatment options. This will, in turn, outline the need for referral to appropriate mental healthcare, from continuing outpatient follow-up to institutionalization with fully-staffed nursing and rehabilitative care. Transfer of care should involve appropriate discussion of MMPI data correlated with a summary of interventions. High-scoring in concerning scales such as suicidality highlights an existing need for acute observation or placement. The validity of symptoms should also be corroborated to demonstrate whether a patient is malingering or suffering from organic disorders requiring medical management by a treatment team. The bio-ethical implications of the MMPI should also be identified if the patient is completing the test in concurrence or stipulation with legal charges, and they should be counseled on what findings might hold concerning criminality. The basis for the use of test data in determining adherence has also been documented in a sample consisting of 471 psychiatric patients, with externalizing scales predictive of whether a patient will be more likely to terminate treatment.[1] [Level 3] This illustrates the need for multi-level involvement in facilitating outreach and patient compliance.

Nursing, Allied Health, and Interprofessional Team Interventions

The MMPI can be a valuable tool in assessing the psychological status of a patient. It will be ordered by a psychologically trained clinician but can provide crucial information to many members of the interprofessional healthcare team, including family clinicians, psychologically trained nursing staff, social workers, and counselors. Specifics regarding its use will vary depending on the clinical situation, and it needs to be part of a more complete evaluation to help direct therapeutic interventions and drive optimal patient outcomes. [Level 5]

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How to Trust & Understand your test results

The MMPI-2 Score

The interruption of the MMPI 2 is called the MMPI-2 SCORE. Assigned to each question within the MMPI quiz is a base score of zero which will in total produce a mean score of around 50 for each of the scales being measured. Certain combinations of answers to the questions will add or minus 1 point of your score and at the end your final result is presented.


The score average is around 50 (The test will adjust averages for males and females and a few other different aspects) with a standard deviation of 10 points per deviation Thus, a score of 60 is one standard deviation above the mean, while a score of 30 is two standard deviations below the mean.


MMPI-2 Scoring & Interpretation Meaning

After the MMPI-2 is taken and scored, an interpretive report is constructed by the psychologist. Scores are converted to what are called normalized “T scores” on a scale ranging from 30 to 120. The “normal” range of T scores is from 50 to 65. Anything above 65 and anything below 50 is considered clinically significant and open for interpretation by the psychologist.

Throughout the years and over numerous research studies, a set of standard clinical profiles have emerged on the MMPI-2 which professionals call “codetypes.” A codetype is simply when two scales demonstrate significantly high T scores, with one being higher than the other. For instance, a 2-3 codetype (meaning that both Scale 2 and Scale 3 are significantly elevated) suggests significant depression, lowered activity levels and helplesness; furthermore the person may have become accustomed to their chronic problems and often have physical complaints.

Dozens of clinical codetypes are well-known and understood, as well as T scores that “spike” on a single Scale (such as a “Spike 4”, which would be a sign of a person who shows impulsive behavior, rebelliousness and poor relationships with authority figures). People with little or no psychopathology or personality concerns will not reach significance for any particular codetype. Most people with personality or mental health issues will usually have only one codetype, or a single codetype with a spike on a third scale.

Like all psychological interpretation, scores are analyzed in context of the individual being tested — not in a vacuum. For instance, we might expect a higher score in Hypomania (a measure of energy levels) in a teen, but it might be more unusual to see such a score in a senior citizen. Ideally, the MMPI-2 is being administered as a part of a battery of psychological tests, so that other testing can either confirm or deny the hypotheses the MMPI-2 may suggest.

Cited from

Understanding Standard Deviation

Standard deviation is a widely used measure of variability or diversity used in statistics and probability theory. It shows how much variation or “dispersion” exists from the average (mean, or expected value). A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the mean, whereas high standard deviation indicates that the data points are spread out over a large range of values.

It is useful for expressing the variability of a population, standard deviation is commonly used to measure confidence in statistical conclusions.


How to Read your Score

1) Identify the T score you want to interpret.
This will come from the results of the test

2) Look at your T score on the normal distribution.
Average is any score between 40-60, A slight issue would be between 30-40 or 60-70. Problem areas with a score below 30 and over 70

3) Compare your score to the average T score.
Different for males and females

4) Look at what the test (and thus the T score) is measuring.
This is in the Scales (found here)

The accurate interpretation of your MMPI results is one of the reasons those who are trained and qualified to administer the MMPI tests like to strongly discourage people attempting to do it themselves.   It does take training and knowledge to get a psychological accuracy that is useful for employment or court use of the MMPI.

Practice the MMPI 2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) for just $3.99 you can take the MMPI Online (Test & Results only,  no analysis or interpretation provided.)




































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Decoding and interpretation of the results of the MMPI test (SMIL)

First, I would like to make a few rather important remarks about working with the MMPI test and its Russian adaptations and derivatives.

First of all, you should not use the Internet interpretation of the results or software versions of the test. You can use online and computer versions of the test only to calculate the results and build a profile. (For example, you can take psychological testing for free on my resource or on The interpretation of the test results should be given by a specialist. The interpretation of the MMPI or SMIL test is primarily given according to the whole profile and according to the profile code, while the interpretation according to individual scales is used only in very specific cases. It has not yet been possible to carry out a decent automated interpretation due to the too great variability of the results. Professional interpretation of the test is hundreds of pages of text manuals with possible options. Both private clients and psychologists can order a professional interpretation of test results.

The second problem with the interpretation of the results is the lack of information. There are only a few sources in Russian, and the information presented in them is too laconic. There are a significant number of publications in English on various aspects of the use of the test in various aspects: in clinical practice, in psychological counseling, in forensic psychological examination, professional selection, etc.

The third problem: the preparedness of specialists. Very often one hears from both psychologists and psychiatrists that the test "does not work", that it is "outdated", that it is only "for psychiatric patients", etc. Unfortunately, such judgments stem only from a lack of familiarity with the original literature on MMPI and world experience in the application of the test. I also want to say that it is impossible to fully master the methodology of working with the test without conducting many, many studies, receiving feedback from the subjects. I had to work with the test for three years, doing several thousand examinations, before I could tell myself that I began to understand the nuances of scoring and interpreting the results.

So, let's get down to business! To interpret the profiles of MMPI, SMIL (L. N. Sobchik, 566 questions), MMIL (F.B. Berezin, 377 statements), SKLO (383 questions), MLO (165 statements), it is recommended to perform the following eight steps. Each stage of assessment and interpretation should be carried out taking into account demographic variables such as age, profession, cultural and intellectual level, education, social class.

Step 1. Estimate the time spent on the test.

The examiner should note the length of time spent on the MMPI test. For a person over 16 years of age, with at least 8 grades, in a state of moderate excitement with an average IQ, the total time to complete the MMPI or SMIL method should be approximately 90 minutes. The computer version of the tests usually takes 15-30 minutes less (60 to 75 minutes in total). If the subject spends more than 2 hours on the test on the form (more than 1 hour 45 minutes on the computer version), the following aspects should be considered when interpreting the test results:

  • Serious psychopathological problems such as severe depression or psychosis.
  • Obsessive indecision.
  • Below average IQ or poor reading ability as a result of insufficient education.
  • Organic lesions of the brain.

If, on the other hand, the subject completes the test in less than an hour, an invalid profile (the subject knows how to "pass" the test), increased impulsivity, a state of hypomania, or a combination of these factors can be suspected.

On blank methods, pay attention to any erasures or pencil dots on the answer sheet. The presence of several of these signs can indicate that the person took the test seriously, which reduces the chance of random answers. A large number of erasures may reflect obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Step 2. Building a profile based on scoring (or obtaining a finished profile during computer testing).

Computer-aided tests may provide information about missing statements, statements for which the answers were changed, or the response time exceeded twice the standard deviation of the mean. On the forms, it is worth paying attention to statements for which the answers were omitted, changed, or the answer contains additional pencil marks. It is important to clarify whether the subject understood the content of these statements, giving answers, or avoiding answers. Discussing with the client or patient the reasons why they chose not to respond to certain statements or why they took so long to answer may shed additional light on how the person functions psychologically and what areas of functioning may be critical for them.

Step 3. Profile evaluation and determination of 1, 2 or 3 peak profile code.

For each of the scales, a T-score value is recorded according to their order (L, F, K, 1, 2, 3, etc.) with their T-scores to the right of those scales. Next, the profile code type is defined. Peaks are considered the highest heights of the scales, except for the 5 MF (masculine-feminine) and 0 SI (social introversion) scales, which are not strictly clinical scales and are not used in determining the type of code. For example, the highest scores in a profile may have scales of 8 and 7, which may give a code type of 87 or 78. The order of the scales in the two- and three-peak code types does not matter (for example, code 13 and code 31 have the same interpretation). Therefore, in the reference part for interpretation, the code type is written as 87/78. With a leading rise of three scales, the code is written as 123/213/231 or 132/312.

Well-differentiated profiles are profiles that have one, two or three scale peaks, with a significant difference between the indicators of other competing scales.

Note that only profiles in which the increase in scale scores exceeds 69 T-points (MMPI, SMIL) or 64 T-points (MMPI-2) can be completely reliably interpreted from the code, and the difference in the scores of the highest scales is at least 5 T-points. Profiles with these scores are more likely to be stable over time (high test-retest reliability).

When scales in well-differentiated code types are elevated (greater than 69 T-scores for MMPI or SMIL, or 64 T-scores for MMPI-2), both symptoms of impairment and personality descriptors are included in the interpretation. It is permissible to take into account the interpretation by two and three peak profile codes if the scale values ​​lie in the area of ​​character accentuations (exceeds 59 T-scores). When scales in well-differentiated types do not exceed the critical level, only personality descriptors, not symptoms, are included in the interpretation. Decryption interpretations must be modified by either lowering the descriptors to a more normal level or removing more extreme descriptors.

Less clearly differentiated profiles should be interpreted by noting each elevated scale and then integrating the values ​​obtained from the various scale descriptors.

An example of deciphering a poorly differentiated profile MMPI.

If the profile is poorly defined due to the presence of additional scales that “compete” with the peak scales in the code type (e.g. code type 27/72, but with scales 1 and 8 also raised almost as high as scales 2 and 7), several strategies need to be used. The safest and most conservative strategy for deciphering and interpreting is to consider the descriptors that occur among all the various elevated scales. For example, anxiety is highly likely to be a common descriptor for elevated scales 1, 2, 7, and 8. Anxiety tendencies are increased if the 7th scale is the most elevated. In addition, the psychologist needs to make an effort to understand and integrate the interpretations given within each of the individual scale descriptions. In addition, it is necessary to take into account and integrate the values ​​of alternative combinations of code types (for example, if all scales 2, 7, 1 and 8 are increased, then the following two-peak code type descriptors must be considered: 27/72, 18/81, 87/78, 12/ 21, 17/71, and another 28/82).

Step 4. Determining the validity of the personality profile.

It is necessary to evaluate the validity of the MMPI profile (MMPI) based on the validity scales. There are a number of indicators that indicate invalid profiles. For example, a frequently encountered defensive (defensive) profile style, in which existing problems are hidden or minimized, is characterized by an increase in the L scale of lies and / or the K scale. A profile in which existing problems are exaggerated is characterized by an increase in the F scale. influence: poor reading comprehension, random answers, psychotic state, high level of infantilism, desire to simulate mental pathology, high level of stress and desire to draw attention to one's problems. In addition, the psychologist must take into account the following factors: the context of the assessment, in order to determine whether, during conversation and observation, the defensive type of responses identified on the scales of validity, the deliberate worsening of results, or the giving of random responses are confirmed. In particular, the assessor must determine the likelihood that the subject would potentially benefit from overestimating or underestimating psychopathology.

Step 5.
Determining the general level of adaptation - disadaptation.

Note the number of scales over 64 T-scores (for MMPI-2) or over 69 T-scores (for MMPI, SMIL, MMIL) and the relative height of these scales. The degree of elevation of the F scale can also be an excellent indicator of the degree of pathology, provided that it is not so high as to indicate an invalid profile (95 T-points for men and 99 T-points for women. For psychiatric patients - 120 T-points for men and 119T-scores for women). The greater the number and relative height of these scales, the more likely the individual will experience difficulty performing basic duties and experience social and personal discomfort.

The normal profile of an adapted person is at the average level, and most of the scales lie in the range of 45-65 (70) T-scores.

A low-lying profile, where the main scales lie below the level of 50 T-scores, and is accompanied by low F-scale indicators and an increase in the K-scale, indicates an overstrain of the adaptation system due to the action of a stressful situation. The subject seeks to deny the existing problems or symptoms (especially on scales with a minimum level: one of the most common options is an underestimated 6th scale with the denial of hostility and distrust of people). In the dynamics of the development of the situation, a disruption and breakdown of the adaptation system is very likely if psychological assistance is not provided in time.

Step 6. Description of symptoms, behavior and personality characteristics.

This step is the basic process of transcribing and interpreting the results of the MMPI test.

Moderate rises on the scales (T = 60-65(70)) reflect the sharpening of character traits (personal accentuation) of the subject in the transition zone between mental norm and pathology. Interpretations in these cases should be treated with caution, with more extreme descriptors including psychopathological symptoms removed or rephrased to describe milder characteristics.

An increase in the scales above 65 (70) T-points to a greater extent reflect the characteristic constants for the subject of the main features of the functioning of the personality. However, it can be misleading to base interpretations solely on specific T-scores, as client demographics (age, nationality, educational level, class, occupation) often have a strong influence on results.

Different authors use different criteria to determine high and low profile scores. Some authors use T-score ranges (eg, T = 70-80), others define elevated scores as the top quartile, and still others define upscales as the highest score in the profile, regardless of the specific T-score value. Most often, descriptors are not tied to specific values ​​of T-scores during interpretation. Instead, more general descriptions are given related to high and low scores. The psychologist must independently interpret the accuracy of these potential values, taking into account not only the height of the scales, but also other relevant variables. In addition, each of the scale descriptions is modal. The descriptions should be considered as possible interpretations that will not necessarily apply to all individuals who score on certain scales. These are just hypotheses in theory that need further testing. That is why up to 40% of automated computer interpretations created without the participation of a psychologist evaluating a particular subject are not confirmed. Specific ranges of T-scores are evaluated only for validity scales (L,F,K).

In the process of interpreting the results, one should not just note the values ​​of individual scales, but also study the overall structure or configuration of the profile, noting the relative peaks and troughs in its configuration. Typical configurations, for example, might include a “conversion V,” reflecting possible conversion disorder, or elevated scales of 4 and 9, which reflect a high likelihood of physical aggression. Any scales greater than 65 (70) or reduced below 40 (45) T-scores should be noted as they are particularly important for overall interpretation. When deciphering the meaning of a profile with two or more elevated clinical scales, it is recommended that the psychologist take into account both the descriptors for the individual scales and the corresponding descriptions of the two- and three-peak profile codes. It is also recommended that when interpreting individual scales, the psychologist use not only the values ​​for high and low scores, but also more general information on the corresponding scale. Here you can see information about the specific indicators of the MMPI test and the assessment of the interaction of some scales when deciphering the profile.

Step 7. Providing psychological and medical diagnostic hypotheses

It is not acceptable to use data from only one test to make a psychological diagnosis without confirming or eliminating diagnostic hypotheses by the results of a carefully selected battery of complementary tests and, of course, observation and conversation.

Although MMPI or SMIL test results cannot be directly used to make a medical (psychiatric) diagnosis using pathopsychological research techniques in clinical psychology, they can often make a significant contribution to information related to diagnostic formulations. The current literature on MMPI-2, in describing the types of two- and three-peak profile codes, contains possible DSM-V diagnoses corresponding to each type of profile code. Clinicians can consider these, along with available additional diagnostic information, to make an accurate diagnosis. In non-medical contexts, the formulation of a psychopathological diagnosis would be neither necessary nor appropriate.

Step 8. Forecast of therapy success, feedback and recommendations

Psychodiagnostics in itself is one of the types of psychological assistance provided to a client or patient. Often one of the most valuable services that a psychologist can provide, both for clinicians and for the subject himself, is to predict the likelihood of benefit from a planned intervention. This usually means identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the functioning of the human psyche, the types of psychological protection used, the ability to form a therapeutic alliance, the predicted response to psychotherapy, possible antisocial tendencies and the level of self-awareness.

Based on the test results, the psychologist can additionally provide suggestions for tailoring specific interventions for the client, based on their profile and the types of problems and difficulties they experience.

In addition, providing the client with clear, relevant feedback describing specific issues of both the current state and previous life experience, as well as suggesting ways for psychological self-help and self-development, has a therapeutic effect.

What information about the subject can be obtained by analyzing the personality profile?
  • General level of social and psychological adaptation
  • Presence of possible pathopsychological features, their structure, degree of their severity
  • Likely complaints
  • The need to consult a mental health specialist, provide psychological assistance (issues of psychological support of professional activities to achieve optimal performance and professional longevity).
  • Signs of burnout
  • Assessment of the level of stress resistance, identification of critical stressors.
  • Major sources of stress and frustration
  • Basic psychological defenses and coping strategies
  • Identification of likely signs of deviant behavior, addictions, the likelihood of disloyal, illegal and criminal behavior.
  • The likelihood of counterproductive behavior in the workplace.
  • Description of habitual patterns of behavior in normal and critical stress situations.
  • The most characteristic personality traits.
  • Features of the emotional sphere, dominant emotions,
  • Dominant thoughts.
  • Characteristic behavioral markers
  • Features of education in the parental family
  • Probable experienced psychotraumas of childhood and adolescence.
  • Possible recent trauma.
  • "Strong" (adaptive) sides of personality
  • "Weak" (maladaptive) aspects of personality
  • Basic needs
  • Leading professional qualities
  • Missing professionally important qualities
  • Optimum suitability by area of ​​engagement
  • Unsuitability by areas of interaction
  • Recommended occupational tasks
  • Recommended and possible occupations
  • Occupations not recommended
  • Critical areas in professional activity
  • Recommendations for interaction in the labor collective
  • Recommendations for optimal management style
  • Recommendations for optimal working conditions
  • Recommended types of psychological assistance, recommendations on the mode of work and rest.

Sample report from my automated testing system.

For private clients interpretation of the results of the MMPI test can help in understanding yourself, see the main internal conflicts and habitual ways of coping with problems, understand the causes of psychological difficulties and problems in communicating with other people, life failures. Recommendations for psychological self-help may be included in the interpretation. Also, interpretation can help to choose the optimal professional activity and work style.

An example of MMPI interpretation for a client (PDF)

For practicing psychologists interpretation allows you to probabilistically assess the presence of certain pathopsychological syndromes in clients, understand the basics of internal conflicts, possible traumas of childhood and adolescence, select the best approaches in therapy, and predict their success and track progress in therapy.

Psychology Test Interpretation Example (PDF)

Description of the MMPI test scales (SMIL)

L - False F - Reliability K - Correction 1 - Hypochondria 2 - Depression 3 - Hysteria 4 - Psychopathy 6 - Paranoia 9 - Psychiasthenia 8 - Introversion


Groth-Marnat G. Handbook of psychological assessment. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.- 2003.-PP. 231-239.

Andrey Demkin

MMPI rating scales

Rating scales (scales L, F and K) were introduced into the original version of the MMPI test in order to study the attitude of the subject to testing and to judge the reliability of the results of the study. However, subsequent study revealed that these scales also have significant psychological correlates.

1 Scale L

2 Scale F

3 Scale K

4 Index F-K

4.1 in the most favorable light possible by demonstrating strict observance of social norms.

The scale consists of 15 statements that relate to socially approved, but unimportant attitudes and norms of everyday behavior, due to their low significance, are actually ignored by the vast majority of people. Thus, an increase in the result on the scale usually testifies to the desire of the subject to appear in a favorable light. This desire may be situationally conditioned, connected with the limited horizons of the subject, or caused by the presence of pathology. However, it must be borne in mind that some people tend to punctually follow the established standard, always observing any, even the most insignificant, not having significant value, rules. In these cases, an increase in the result on the L scale reflects these character traits.

Belonging to a professional group, which, due to its specifics, requires an extremely high standard of behavior and punctual adherence to conventional norms, also contributes to an increase in the result on the L scale. in some other professional groups.

It should be noted that, since the statements that make up the L scale are used in their direct meaning, they may not reveal a tendency to look in a favorable light if it occurs in persons of sufficiently high intelligence and extensive life experience.

If the results on the L scale are from 70 to 80 T-points, the obtained profile is doubtful, and if the result is more than 80 T-points, it is unreliable. High results on the L scale are usually accompanied by a decrease in the level of the profile on the main clinical scales. If, despite the high result on the L scale, significant increases in the level of the profile are found on one or another clinical scale, they can be taken into account in the totality of data available to the researcher.

F scale

A significant increase in the profile on this scale indicates an accidental or intentional distortion of the study results.

The scale consists of 64 statements, which were extremely rarely regarded as “true” by persons included in the normative group of healthy subjects, according to which the method of multilateral personality research was standardized. At the same time, these statements rarely differentiated the normative group from the groups of patients for which the main test scales were validated.
Statements included in the F scale relate, in particular, to unusual thoughts, desires and sensations, overt psychotic symptoms, and such, the existence of which is almost never recognized by the studied patients.

If the profile on the F scale exceeds 70 T-points, the result is doubtful, but can be taken into account when confirmed by other, including clinical, data. If the result on the F scale exceeds 80 T-points, the result of the study should be considered unreliable. This result may be due to technical errors made during the study. In cases where the possibility of error is excluded, the unreliability of the result is due to the attitude of the subject or his condition. In setting behavior, the subject may lay out cards without any connection with their meaning (if he seeks to avoid research) or recognize as true statements regarding unusual or clearly psychotic phenomena (if he seeks to aggravate or simulate psychopathological symptoms).

An unreliable result associated with the patient's condition may be observed in an acute psychotic state (disturbance of consciousness, delirium, etc.) that distorts the perception of statements or the reaction to them. A similar distortion can be observed in cases of severe psychotic disorders leading to a defect. A doubtful or unreliable result can be obtained in anxious individuals in cases where an urgent need for help prompts them to give accountable answers to most of the statements. In these cases, simultaneously with an increase in the result on the F scale, the entire profile is significantly increased, but the shape of the profile is not distorted and the possibility of its interpretation remains. Finally, changes in the subject's attention can lead to an unreliable result, as a result of which he makes mistakes or cannot grasp the meaning of the statement. When receiving an unreliable result, in some cases it is possible to increase the reliability of the study using retesting. At the same time, it is more expedient to resubmit only those statements for which the considered answers were received. If the result of retesting is unreliable, you can try to establish the reason for the distortion of the result by discussing his answers with the subject. In order to avoid disruption of contact with the subject, it is necessary to obtain his consent to such a discussion.

With a reliable result of the study, a relatively high profile level on the F scale (deviation from the average by 1.5-2 s) can be observed in various types of non-conformal personalities, since such personalities will show reactions that are not characteristic of the normative group, and, accordingly, more often give responses scored on the F scale. Violation of conformity may be associated with the peculiarity of perception and logic, characteristic of persons of a schizoid warehouse, autistic and experiencing difficulties in interpersonal contacts, as well as psychopathic traits in persons prone to disordered (“bohemian”) behavior or characterized by a pronounced sense of protest against conventional norms. An increase in the profile on the F scale can be observed in very young people during the period of personality formation in cases where the need for self-expression is realized through non-conformity in behavior and attitudes. Severe anxiety and need for help also usually manifests itself in a relatively high level of the result on the described scale.

A moderate increase on the F scale (deviation from the average by 1.0-1.517) in the absence of psychopathological symptoms usually reflects internal tension, dissatisfaction with the situation, poorly organized activity. The tendency to follow conventional norms and the absence of internal tension cause a low result on the F scale.

In clinically undoubted cases of the disease, an increase in the profile on the F scale correlates with the severity of psychopathological symptoms.

Scale K

The scale consists of 30 statements that allow differentiating individuals who seek to mitigate or hide psychopathological phenomena and those who are overly open.

In the original version of the MMPI test, this scale was originally intended only to study the degree of caution of the subjects in the testing situation and the tendency ( largely unconscious) to deny the presence of unpleasant sensations, life difficulties and conflicts. For the purpose of correcting motion sickness, the result obtained on the K scale is added to five of the ten main clinical scales in a proportion corresponding to its influence) on each of these scales.

To the greatest extent, this trend affects the results obtained on the seventh and eighth scales, in connection with which the primary result on the K scale is added to the primary result obtained on these scales.

To a lesser extent, it affects the results obtained on the first and fourth scales, therefore, when correcting, 0.5 is added to the primary result obtained on the first scale, and 0.4 of the primary result on the K scale is added to the result obtained on the fourth .

To the least extent, this trend affects the result obtained on the ninth scale; when correcting, 0.2 of the primary result on the K scale is added to the primary result on this scale.

The results obtained on the remaining scales do not show regular changes depending on the result on the K scale and therefore are not corrected in the described way. However, the K scale, in addition to its significance for assessing the reaction of the subject to the testing situation and correcting the results on a number of basic clinical scales, is also of significant interest for assessing certain personality traits of the subject.

Persons with high scores on the K scale usually determine their behavior depending on social approval and are concerned about their social status. They tend to deny any difficulties in interpersonal relationships or in controlling their own behavior, strive to comply with accepted norms and refrain from criticizing others to the extent that the behavior of others fits within the accepted norm. Obviously non-conformal, deviating from traditions and customs, going beyond the conventional framework, the behavior of other people causes a pronounced negative reaction in persons who give high scores on the K scale. Due to the tendency to deny (largely already at the perceptual level) information that indicates difficulties and conflicts, these individuals may not have an adequate idea of ​​how they are perceived by others.

In clinical cases, a pronounced desire to achieve a favorable attitude towards oneself may be combined with anxiety and uncertainty.

In case of slight severity (moderate increase in the profile on the K scale), the described tendencies do not disturb the adaptation of the individual, but even facilitate it, causing a feeling of harmony with the environment and an approving assessment of the rules adopted in this environment. In this regard, persons with a moderate increase in the profile on the K scale give the impression of prudent, benevolent, sociable, having a wide range of interests. A great deal of experience in interpersonal contacts and the denial of difficulties determine in persons of this type a more or less high level of enterprise and the ability to find the right line of conduct. Since such qualities improve social adaptation, a moderate increase in the profile on the K scale can be considered as a prognostically favorable sign.

Persons with a very low profile on the K scale are well aware of their difficulties, tend to exaggerate rather than underestimate the degree of interpersonal conflicts, the severity of their symptoms, and the degree of personal inadequacy. They do not hide their weaknesses, difficulties and psychopathological disorders. The tendency to be critical of oneself and others leads to skepticism. Dissatisfaction and a tendency to exaggerate the significance of conflicts make them easily vulnerable and give rise to awkwardness in interpersonal relationships.

Index F-K

Since the trends measured by the F and K scales are largely opposite in direction, the difference in the primary result obtained on these scales is essential for determining the subject's attitude at the time of the study and judging the reliability of the result. The average value of this index in the method of multilateral personality research is -7 for men and -8 for women.

The intervals at which the result can be considered reliable (if none of the rating scales exceed 70 T-points) are from -18 to +4 for men, from -23 to +7 for women.

If the F-K difference is +5 to +7 for men and +8 to +10 for women, then the result is doubtful, but if confirmed by clinical data, it can be taken into account, provided that none of the rating scales exceeds 80 T-scores.

The greater the difference F - K, the more pronounced the desire of the subject to emphasize the severity of his symptoms and life's difficulties, to evoke sympathy and condolences. A high F-K index may also indicate aggravation. A decrease in the F-K index reflects the desire to improve the impression of oneself, mitigate one's symptoms and emotionally intense problems or deny their presence. A low level of this index may indicate dissimulation of existing psychopathological abnormalities.

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